Three North Carolina congressional Democrats changed their views on U.S. relations with Cuba in recent years, just as they began receiving thousands of dollars in donations from the country's largest Cuban-American political action committee.
U.S. Reps. Brad Miller of Raleigh and Mike McIntyre of Lumberton began to vote a harder line as the Cuban-American organization, a staunch opponent of relaxing restrictions on the Communist regime of Fidel and Raul Castro, was increasing its lobbying work in Congress in 2004. At the same time, President George W. Bush began toughening his administration's enforcement of travel restrictions and a trade embargo against the island nation.
Since 2004, McIntyre and Miller have received $14,500 each from the U.S.-Cuba Democracy political action committee, according to a report released today by Public Campaign, a nonpartisan advocacy group based in Washington that pushes for public financing of campaigns.
A third North Carolina Democrat, U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield of Wilson, has received $21,200 from the group since entering Congress in July 2004. His votes started to harden on the Cuba issue beginning in 2005.