COSTCO Gives Big to WA Measure

Costco Wholesale Corp. has shattered records for initiative spending, dumping more than $22 million into initiative I-1183 in Washington State, which would privatize the states alcohol business, including allowing spirits to be purchased directly from distillers.

A similar measure was defeated by the voters last year which would have eliminated price posting and allowed direct sales for beer. This year’s measure leaves beer out.

Reports filed with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission show that Costco committed another $8.9 million to the campaign on Monday.

Opponents of the measure believe it would make liquor too accessible, particularly in places that don’t have a good track record of barring sales to minors. They also worry that a provision allowing retailers to work directly with distillers — bypassing wholesalers — would disrupt a longstanding system and allow large companies a competitive advantage.