Wine Wholesalers: It Looks A Lot Like Corruption

It’s sheer arrogance….and an abdication of the responsibility to make an argument.

At a recent conference for alcohol beverage attorneys held in Portland earlier this month, a discussion ensued concerning Franchise Laws. Franchise laws generally state that once a producer of alcohol chooses a distributor in a given state, they may not remove themselves from that relationship no matter how incompetent the wholesaler and even if the wholesaler is sold to another wholesaler. They amount to protection for alcohol wholesalers from having to do their job. And wholesalers like franchise laws…A LOT.

During the discussion, a couple of attorneys representing wholesalers (Tuck Duncan) on one hand and the other (James Niehaus) representing producers got into a heated exchange about the value and utility of franchise laws. Beer Marketer’s INSIGHT reported their exchange.

TUCK: “my people are closer to the people than your people are (Legislators)…my people elect the people who make the decisions eventually…that’s a good thing.”

JAMES: “Your people make larger contributions (to legislators)”

TUCK: “Damn right…I’ll match my ability to get the law changed in my state against yours any day”

For the record, Tuck’s clients are the Kansas Wine & Spirits Wholesalers Association. According to FollowTheMoney, over the past four elections, they have contributed $223,521 to Kansas political campaigns.

What we have here is a bald-faced admission that the contributions of wine and spirit wholesalers are meant to purchase the legislation they need to protect themselves from having to actually do a job. Equally important, it’s clear by the extraordinarily poor quality of the arguments wholesalers and their attorneys make, that the campaign contributions are meant to absolve them from actually having to make a rational case for their positions.


2 Responses

  1. Ron Marsilio - September 29, 2017

    Tom, when looking at Follow the Money, it shows that in the 2016 election year in Kansas, the Kansas Wine and Spirits Wholesalers contributed $53,426 in total to about 92 candidates from both political parties. The average contribution was just over $300.00 hardly a windfall for any candidate that would pressure them into influencing legislation one way or the other. Most of those contributions came through a PAC, which, of course was made legal in the Citizens United Supreme Court debacle, but that’s another story. The point is, the contributions to each candidate were both legal and small. Your blog tends to make them the big boogie man influencing all political candidates. Well…yes, there was influence, about $300 worth. The figure quoted in your blog is incorrect, it is actually $310,498, but that is over 13 or 14 years of political campaigns to about 90 candidates each campaign.

  2. Guy Azera - October 23, 2017

    In order to really Follow the money, one would have to be in the middle of all the transactions that are not declared. $53,426 is probably the declared amount but it does not take into consideration all the rest. It is only my opinion that the rest would be well over the $310000.00 was talking about. Big distributors can pass all the Bills into Law to give them an upper hand in whatever they need so that they can continue with their business model. Right or wrong or how much cash does it take to get it done is not the question,
    The real question is Why is this allowed since everyone knows that this is going on and yet no one does anything to change it.

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