• Press Release

Congressman Trone Can’t Hide His Funding of Abortion Bans

September 18, 2023


WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to Congressman David Trone’s release of a 60 second ad claiming that he supports abortion rights, EMILYs List released the following statement from Senior Vice President of Campaigns Jessica Mackler: 

“Congressman Trone and his private company have given nearly $500,000 to anti-choice Republicans including Greg Abbott, Thom Tillis, Brian Kemp, Nikki Haley, and 10 different Republican legislative caucuses. When Wisconsin Republicans stood by an 1849 law banning abortions or Georgia Republicans passed a 2019 trigger ban on abortions, it was with legislative majorities Trone funded. Congressman Trone stood for his personal profit, not abortion rights. Maryland voters won’t be fooled.”

TIME Magazine reported on Trone’s giving in a blockbuster August report: 

Those outlays are indicative of Trone’s and his company’s history of making campaign contributions to candidates throughout the nation, Republican and Democratic alike, to advance legislation or regulatory changes favorable to Total Wine, the nation’s largest privately owned retailer of beer, wine, and liquor, with 254 stores in 28 states.

During his first House bid in 2016 in a heavily blue district, he drew attention for the $150,000 he had previously given to Republican officeholders, including Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas and then-Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina. “I sign my checks to buy access,” he told The Washington Post. 

Since entering Congress in 2019, Trone, 67, has maintained co-ownership of Retail Services and Systems and Total Wine with his brother Robert, with whom he founded the companies in the 1980s. When he stepped down as Total Wine’s CEO in 2015 and president in 2016, he said he would no longer manage day-to-day operations. But Trone has remained involved in the firm. Last year, he and his brother spent $1 million each in Colorado pushing for a ballot initiative to loosen the state’s liquor laws. In December 2021, an Arizona police report revealed that he was visiting a Tempe store location and engaging with delivery workers. And his picture remains plastered on the company website, which says that he and his brother “lead an expert team focused on excellent selections at the lowest prices possible.” 

In 2006, Trone’s firm established Georgia Fine Wine, a limited liability company, which was the entity that made most of the company’s recent political contributions in the state. It donated roughly five times more to Republicans than Democrats in the last election cycle, the TIME review found.  The GOP recipients of the company’s largess not only helped to pass the six-week abortion ban but enacted Georgia’s restrictive 2021 voting law that is anathema to the Democratic base.
EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, works to elect Democratic pro-choice women up and down the ballot and across the country with a goal of fighting for our rights and our communities. Our work is centered around a fundamental vision: Run. Win. Change the World. EMILYs List has raised $850 million in service to that vision and has helped Democratic women win competitive elections by recruiting and training candidates, supporting and helping build strong campaigns, researching the issues that impact women and families, running one of the largest independent expenditure operations for Democrats, and turning out women voters to the polls. Since our founding in 1985, we have helped elect the country’s first woman as vice president, 175 women to the House, 26 to the Senate, 20 governors, and over 1,500 women to state and local office. More than 40% of the candidates EMILYs List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color. Visit www.emilyslist.org for more information.