In First for the State, Costco Will Use Its Own Stores and Employees to Get Liquor Initiative on the Ballot

Toilet Paper Sample Station vs. Booze Sample Station. Advantage: Booze.
Issaquah-based retail giant Costco has been trying for years to change liquor laws in Washington. It sued the state Liquor Control Board to force the state to allow high-volume buyers like itself to get discounts on wholesale beer and wine.

Having lost that effort, Costco has started on a new campaign. The retail giant is throwing its weight behind state ballot initiative 1100--the one that would allow Washingtonians to decide whether the state should relinquish its monopoly on liquor sales altogether.

In fact, starting next Tuesday, company employees will help gather signatures at Costco stores across the state. Kristina Logsdon of the Washington Ballot Initiative Network says she's heard of small businesses making petitions available at their stores. But she's never heard of a major company like Costco using its retail outlets and employees to actively gather signatures.

The employees' time technically counts as an in-kind contribution from Costco to Modernize Washington, the organizing committee behind Initiative 1100. And while Costco is required to report the amount of employee-hours donated, state law doesn't put a cap on in-kind donations in ballot measure campaigns.

The deadline for submitting signed petitions is July 2. Expect to see Costco staffers carrying pens and writing pads until at least then.

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