On April 15, a bill backed by the National Beer Wholesalers Association was introduced in the House aimed at limiting direct sales of beer, wine and other alcohol, which the trade group views as a mortal threat to its industry.
Over the next two weeks, the group contributed more than $45,000 to the campaign accounts of Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), chairman of the committee considering the bill and the guest of honor at a fundraiser during the association’s annual Washington meeting this spring. The group hired as an outside consultant Conyers’ former chief of staff, who met with members of the chairman’s staff.
In addition, the group has donated nearly $300,000 this year to more than 100 House members who agreed to co-sponsor the legislation, often within days of securing the lawmakers’ formal support, according to Federal Election Commission records. More than a dozen lawmakers received donations within a week of endorsing the bill, records show.
Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), for example, received a $2,500 contribution three days before the bill was introduced with his name on it. Another co-sponsor, Rep. Pete Olson (R-Tex.), received $8,000 in donations from the group this year, including $2,500 two days after pledging his support.