It takes more than wine to buy off this politician

What’s it cost to get a self-serving Bill introduced into the Michigan legislature? Apparently a mere $12,000.

WardThat’s how much Michigan State representative Chris Ward (R) received from the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Associations gave to Ward during his last election campaign. And it turns out that this was the largest contribution to a single Michigan legislator made by the wholesalers.

And what did they get? Ward is the chief sponsor of a bill completely outlawing all forms of direct shipping in Michigan, a policy that will over turn 30 years of Michigan wineries being able to ship wine to Michigan residents.

So, as long as Mr. Ward’s activities in the Michigan Legislature are for sale, I have a proposal.

Let’s start the "Chris Ward Wine Education Fund". I’m sure that between wine lovers across the country, some Michigan wineries and maybe a few entrepreneurs we can gather up $13,000 for the "continuing wine education of Rep. Chris Ward." In return, we’d only ask that he introduce legislation allowing direct shipping.

Posted In: Shipping Wine


3 Responses

  1. Jack - June 21, 2005

    Isn’t it just amazing how little money a large corporation or industry group has to “donate” to a single politician to get any kind of anti-consumer bill introduced into legislation? And, this is just the “donations” we actually learn about. (Perhaps we could send you, Tom, to inspect Chris Ward’s wine cellar and check for “unaccounted” bottles?)

  2. James Lester - July 10, 2005

    Thanks for your fine support. My winery sells everything via mailing list so we ship all our wine. Chris Ward’s bill would kill us. Many of us have written him to turn up the heat on him. He has stated now that he would look at some compromises. My postion is that there is no compromise. The spirit of Justice Kennedy’s opinion is to open up free trade on wine. If they pass a complete ban, Ray and Eleanor Heald (Heald v. Granholm) and their attorney Robert Epstein will re-sue the state of MI on civil rights grounds. The wineries will sue the state, and I can see a class action suit against the state brought by out-of-state consumers who can’t get MI wines they want. This will be interesting!
    Jim Lester
    Wyncroft, LLC

  3. Warren Raftshol - July 18, 2005

    When you stop to think about it, the business of wine wholesaling is entirely a creation of law. The wine wholesaler serves no economic purpose. The wine wholesaler rips off the consumer by adding cost to the final sale, a portion of which is then funnelled back to the legislature in the form of bribes.
    The “three tier system” has to go.

Leave a Reply