For Bacardi, detailing its efforts at landing a political rum punch comes up short on form

It’s possible the person filling out the paperwork just had one too many rum coolers.

The Bacardi USA Political Action Committee left blank two sections of an amended statement of organization, prompting the Federal Election Commission to send the group a reminder note Friday that it needed to include addresses for its treasurer and affiliated banks.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993. View Archive

It’s a small hiccup, but it inspired us to learn a little more about this liquor-fueled PAC.

In the first quarter of 2014, Bacardi USA made just one donation — $1,000 to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who took over the powerful Finance Committee this year. Last year, the PAC gave that amount to Sen. Ted Cruz ­(R-Tex.), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), and to a victory fund for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who is also the Democratic National Committee chairman.

Bacardi’s political arm also gave $2,500 last year to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), former chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the first Cuban American elected to Congress. Bacardi was founded in Cuba but left over family opposition to Fidel Castro.

Bacardi spent $30,000 in lobbying last quarter on bipartisan legislation related to trademark protection, co-sponsored in the House by Ros-Lehtinen and Wasserman Schultz. The bill is one of several attempts by Congress to tweak a law inspired by a fight over the use of the name Havana Club for a rum product.

Bacardi USA spent considerably more on lobbying in the first quarter of 2013, yet despite Congress’s low productivity, the rum company must still think it’s worth a shot.

An enemy in common

They have a tense, if not cliched, story line in American history. But at least some of today’s cowboys and Indians share a common objective: stopping the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Cowboy and Indian Alliance, a group of Native Americans, ranchers and farmers, are setting up camp on the Mall and plan to remain there for five days starting Tuesday to display their resolve against building the proposed oil pipeline from Canada through Midwestern states to transport crude oil to the Texas Gulf Coast.

Environmentalists who oppose Keystone XL scored a small victory Friday when the State Department announced it would indefinitely delay the decision-making over the stalled pipeline construction. The Obama administration will await a decision from the Nebraska Supreme Court that is hearing a legal challenge over the route the pipeline would take through that state.

But despite that surprise pre-holiday news, the encampment is still a go.

President Obama knows his decision on the pipeline has direct impact on our land, water and property rights. The delay honors our legal victory invalidating the Nebraska route and strengthens our resolve to stop this pipeline and tar sands at the source,” Jane Kleeb, founder of Bold Nebraska, told the Loop by e-mail.

The cowboys and Indians will ride on horseback to the Mall, where they will camp out in five tepees and a covered wagon. Actress Daryl Hannah, who, according to a quick IMDb search, once starred in a movie called “Cowboy Up,” is expected to make a cameo appearance. The Indigo Girls are as well.

There’s a long itinerary for the week, including a pilgrimage to Secretary of State John Kerry’s Washington home, where the group will gather outside and pray for Kerry to “listen to his conscience.”

The Susan Rice files

In 1997, a young diplomat in charge of African affairs strongly cautioned against sending the newly confirmed secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, to Africa for a summit.

That diplomat, a woman named Susan Rice, wrote a sharply worded note to the national security staff criticizing the event’s organizer, the Rev. Leon Sullivan, a civil rights activist who had allegedly said that if the president, vice president or secretary of state weren’t coming, the United States shouldn’t send anyone.

“In any case, unfortunately, this is likely to be a lose/lose proposition in that Sullivan will almost inevitably publicly damn us if we do or don’t. That’s just his style,” the now-national security adviser wrote, according to documents from the Bill Clinton White House that were made public Friday.

Like most of the Clinton papers, it’s a small vignette that provides a glimpse into the communication within an administration.

In a separate note, Rice used blunt language to explain why Albright should not attend the African/African American summit in Zimbabwe.

“I too think it would be ill-advised, but not disastrous,” Rice wrote, pointing out that “genuine luminaries” such as Louis Farrakhan and Al Sharpton would be present. “This event is a poorly planned quasi-Baptist revival, the main purpose of which is to give a biennial boost to Sullivan’s already sizable ego,” she added. “This would not be the most dignified way for her to conduct her first trip to Africa as Secretary.”

In the end, the Clinton administration sent Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater and the Rev. Jesse Jackson as its representatives.

— With Colby Itkowitz

The blog: washingtonpost.com/intheloop. Twitter: @InTheLoopWP.

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.
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