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$5.7 Million Buys A Lot of Votes

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jan 9, 2008 5:20PM

2008_01_abdi.gifDoes it surprise anyone by now a lobby might donate money to a politician's campaign fund as a "favor" for supporting their special interest? If not, we can move on.

What is shocking is the amount of money wine lobbies around the country throw at politicians around the country in the interest of passing laws geared toward "wholesale protection", tightening their grip on the three-tier distribution system. The Specialty Wine Retailers Association released a report yesterday estimating that beer, wine and spirits distributors - led by the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois - have contributed an estimated $50 million to campaign funds across the country over a seven-year period. The war chests of Illinois politicians were enriched to the tune of $5.7 million.

A fair amount of those donations were a "thank you" for passing the excreable HB 429, which protects distributors by keeping Illinois consumers from buying wine from out-of-state retailers, and forcing larger in-state wineries to sell their product directly to the distributors instead of directly to retailers as they were allowed to do in the past.

When HB 429 goes into effect in June and you see a sudden increase in wine prices, you know who to blame.