Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) has filed an FOIA request with the FEC to find out more about Westar's illegal campaign contributions. The Stakeholder was first to note this yesterday afternoon. Still no original coverage in the Chron, by the way, though they do reprint a WaPo editorial about the Kenny Boy indictment.
Elsewhere on the DeLay front, there's a new Bacardi bill development. Turns out that a couple of expert witnesses who have testified for the bill DeLay favors that would give Bacardi exclusive rights to the Havana Club rum label have financial ties to Bacardi that they failed to disclose before testifying.
Jaime Suchlicki, a University of Miami professor, sought to counter claims that the bill would jeopardize other trademarks in a May 3 letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.).
Suchlicki said he is aware of claims “that the Castro regime may retaliate against U.S. products regarding this law.” But, he added: “As an expert in Cuban history, policies and political framework, and Director of the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies [ICCAS] at the University of Miami, I assure you it is not in Fidel Castro’s best interest to retaliate nor does he have any rights to retaliate.”
What Suchlicki does not disclose in his letter is that his full title is “Emilio Bacardi Moreau professor of International Studies” and that ICCAS is housed at the “Casa Bacardi” at the University of Miami. The Bacardi Family Foundation gave $1 million for the construction of Casa Bacardi and the Bacardi logo is etched into the building’s glass doors.
Suchlicki’s wife, Joy Suchlicki, works as assistant marketing manager for DiSaronno Amaretto, a subsidiary of Bacardi-Martini.
Jaime Suchlicki could not be reached for comment.
In a June 21 letter to the Senate and House Judiciary committees, Bruce Lehman, who headed the PTO during the Clinton administration, strongly supported the Bacardi bills.
Lehman, scheduled to testify at today’s hearing as a majority witness, currently serves on the board of directors of the International Intellectual Property Institute (IIPI), but said in his letter that the views expressed are his own and “do not necessarily represent the Board of Directors.”
The IIPI on its website displays a Bacardi logo, says that the company “supported the Institute” and links to Bacardi’s corporate website.
In an interview, Lehman reiterated that the views in his letter and the ones he will express at today’s hearing are his personal views, which he has held for a long time.
Paul Krugman gives a synopsis today of the DeLay-Enron emails. No new revelations, but as the Chron prints the occasional Krugman column, we may get to see this in DeLay's home paper.
Finally, Chris Bell was scheduled to speak about his ethics complaint against DeLay today at the Harris County Democratic Party's monthly Brown Bag Lunch, but he's been called back to DC. Richard Morrison will be speaking in his place. Steve Bates will be attending a similar event tonight, at which Morrison appears to be pinch hitting again. Please let us know how it goes, Steve!
“The last sign of a defeated and intellectually bankrupt party is a hate-filled strategy of caricature assassination,” said Jonathan Grella, a DeLay spokesman.