The American Beverage Association California PAC has nearly doubled the money it has contributed to defeat the San Francisco soda tax by adding another $9.1 million this month to the No on V campaign, according to public records.
The PAC is the the committee that has been bankrolling No on V campaign. Proposition V is the one-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages like soda that goes before San Francisco voters in November.
The early October addition to the PAC’s previous war chest of $9.8 million brings the campaign’s total to $18.9 million, according to San Francisco’s Ethics Commission filings.
This is the most raised by a single committee to defeat a San Francisco ballot measure on record. During the November 2015 election, Airbnb spent $9 million to defeat Proposition F, a measure designed to regulate the short-term rental industry. In 2014, soda companies spent $9 million to successfully defeat a tax on sugary beverages in San Francisco.
Joe Arellano, a spokesperson for the “No on V: Enough is Enough” campaign, confirmed that the last-minute contributions were made. He pointed to multi-million contributions from Michael Bloomberg, the former governor of New York, when asked why the American Beverage Association California PAC nearly doubled its contributions in the final month leading up to Election Day.
“Michael Bloomberg has dropped in nearly $9 million since August 31 and we have 42 state and local measures on the SF ballot all competing for time and attention from voters,” he wrote in an email.
Bloomberg has indeed contributed some $9 million to support soda taxes on the ballot in cities around the Bay Area including San Francisco, Oakland and Albany, where the beverage industry has already spent a combined $14 million to defeat them.
In San Francisco alone, the “Yes on Proposition V” campaign has raised just over $5 million, with about $2.6 million of that coming in October.
Asked about the whopping contribution, “Yes on V” spokesperson Dan Newman wrote in an email that the opposition has “spent tens of millions with no sign of stopping on lies about a so-called ‘grocery tax’ opposed by Bernie Sanders.”
“A big gulp of big lies from big soda,” he said.
The American Beverage Association PAC, which has been the major backer behind the ‘No on V’ independent expenditure committee, has been consistently receiving money from the likes of The Coca-Cola Company, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group/Motts LLP, PepsiCo, Inc., and Red Bull North America.