Lubricating the wheels of policy

What drives policymaking that affects wine consumers? Thanks to opensecrets.org, we get a glimpse into how the sausage like HR 1161 gets made. Spot the consumer groups on the list! via WII

beer wine political donors

Further discussion of the political coloring of beer and wine donors.

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8 Responses to “Lubricating the wheels of policy”


  1. So you’re saying that politicians can be influenced to introduce certain legislation with donations? Yikes!


  2. Jarrod, it’s not influence, it’s education! Unlike 4th graders who get a dollar for an A on their report card (after they have done the work), Congress needs to be paid before they learn.

    “Julian Green, director of media relations for MillerCoors Brewing, agrees. He says his company contributes to members of Congress in an attempt to educate them on important issues facing the company.”


  3. That’s great, then, because education is good.


  4. If you want the lowdown on HR 1161 in excruciating detail, visit Tom Wark’s site. He’s been talking about this legislation for a long time.


  5. I’ve read the bill and what I’ve read on this blog about this bill seems ignorant. It specifically states that states cannot discriminate against states in favor of their own. This bill does not release them from the Commerce Clause of the constitution. So please read the bill (it’ll take you five minutes), then set me straight: What’s the problem?
    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/C?c112:./temp/~c112kMxZ7J


  6. Nathan — HR 1161 would explicitly override the application of the dormant Commerce Clause to any issue involving regulation of alcoholic beverages. Here is the language, from Section 3 of the bill:

    “Construction of Congressional Silence- Silence on the part of Congress shall not be construed to impose any barrier under clause 3 of section 8 of article I of the Constitution (commonly referred to as the `Commerce Clause’) to the regulation by a State or territory of alcoholic beverages.”

    The bill would also explicitly authorize state regulation of alcohol, “It is the policy of Congress to recognize and reaffirm that alcohol is different from other consumer products and that it should continue to be regulated by the States,” and would repeal a provision of the Wilson Act that limits state regulation (see bill Section 4).

    You are correct that the bill does contain a limitation on state discrimination but that limitation is much narrower in principle than the limitations the dormant Commerce Clause would apply in the absence of the bill’s override. It also applies only to discrimination against out-of-state producers, not to discrimination against out-of-state retailers.


  7. Hard to believe Wine Institute doesn’t spend more than that. Come on guys, step it up! Aside from the nonsense in regard to direct shipments (Nathan, I think you’re correctly reading the legislation itself, but are missing the long term implications and how it WILL be used by some states and distributors) it’s a reminder on how big some of these companies truly are.


  8. Please keep in mind that while the protection of the Commerce Clause remains with producers (to a degree), HR 1161 removes all Commerce Clause protections against state based discrimination from retailers.

    That’s about as radical as one can get when it comes to federally mandated commercial policy making.


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