Apr 29, 2004
Drunk with Power
Hoping to settle a festering dispute involving Cuba, rum and international trade, Texas Rep. Lamar Smith filed a bill Wednesday that would give control of the legendary “Havana Club” label to Bacardi-Martini Ltd.
A watchdog group criticized the move, saying it was an apparent favor for a donor linked to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, a Smith ally who tried to add similar language to an appropriations bill last fall.
A grand jury in Austin investigating allegations that corporate funds were used in Texas House races is looking at a $20,000 Bacardi donation last summer to Texans for a Republican Majority, a group Mr. DeLay created.
Aides for Mr. Smith, R-San Antonio, and Mr. DeLay denied any tie to campaign donations.