clippings

The Intercept: The Monopolist In The House: Rep. David Trone’s Wine Company Seeks To Overturn a Constitutional Amendment

Read on The Intercept

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP has been reasonably condemned for attempting to trash the Constitution. But there’s only one active politician in America working to actually reverse a standing constitutional amendment.

He’s a freshman Democratic House member from Maryland’s 6th Congressional District.

David Trone was elected in 2018 to fill the seat of John Delaney, who seems to think that he’s running for president. Trone won a spirited primary with the assistance of $14.2 million in self-funded contributions and another $3.25 million in personal loans. This available fortune was generated from Trone’s personal alcoholic beverage empire. Total Wine, which Trone co-founded with his brother, is America’s largest privately owned retailer of beer, wine, and liquor, with 193 stores in 23 states. Trone served as president of Total Wine until December 2016 and is still listed as co-owner of the company on its website.

Total Wine is currently embroiled in a Supreme Court case that challenges the 21st Amendment, which ended Prohibition. In Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association v. Blair, Total Wine claims that Tennessee cannot impose a two-year residency requirement for obtaining a retail license to sell alcohol. This has proven a barrier for Total Wine and for Doug and Mary Ketchum, who recently moved to Tennessee after agreeing to take over a mom-and-pop liquor store in Memphis.

But the residency issue is a stalking horse for the question of whether states have the right to regulate alcohol sales within their borders. While the 21st Amendment is seemingly very clear on that, alcohol producers and retailers have persistently fought it. If the Supreme Court sides with Total Wine, state alcohol laws will have little or no force, making it easier for retail giants to dominate the sector and potentially roll back health and safety measures on alcohol in a drive for profit.

So you have David Trone, a proud member of the new Democratic congressional majority, trying to use a conservative judiciary to deregulate an industry so that his wine shops can pop up on every street corner in America.

Read the full article here.

See the rest of Sandeep Vaheesan's work

Join the Movement


In America today, wealth and political power are more concentrated than at any point in our country’s history.

The Open Markets Institute, formerly the Open Markets program at New America, was founded to protect liberty and democracy from these extreme -- and growing -- concentrations of private power.

Stay updated


Sign up to stay informed.