DEA Agent: Gore Donation Quashed Rap-A-Lot Probe

Label spokesperson calls 'absurd' charge that political pressure, bought by alleged $200,000 gift to vice president's campaign, halted drug investigation.

A federal drug-enforcement agent told a congressoinal committee Thursday (December 7) that his probe of Rap-A-Lot records was canceled, and he was demoted, after label head James Prince gave $200,000 to Vice President Al Gore's presidential campaign.

Prince's publicist called the charge "asburd" and said Prince "has never donated a dime to Al Gore."

"That would be like Lars Ulrich buying shares in Napster," publicist Phyllis Pollack said.

Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Jack Schumacher, who was called out on record by Rap-A Lot artist Scarface on the rapper's October album, Last of a Dying Breed, would not disclose his source connecting Prince to a $200,000 donation to the Gore campaign. California Democrat Henry Waxman said that there are no records of any contributions from Rap-A-Lot or Prince to the Gore campaign or the Democratic National Committee.

The two-day hearings of the House Committee on Government Reform, set to conclude Thursday, were the latest chapter in a 12-year saga involving Rap-A-Lot, the DEA and police in Houston, Texas. The investigation has resulted in more than 20 drug-related convictions, but Prince has never been charged.

The hearing was called to determine whether political pressure resulted in Attorney General Janet Reno calling off the investigation, an allegation denied by Houston DEA head Ernest Howard. Howard testified that he suspended the investigation because he was concerned about agents' safety and careers.

Schumacher and three Houston police officers claimed that Howard told them politics were at the root of the investigation's end. The three officers testified that they were pulled off the probe soon after California representative Maxine Waters sent a letter to Reno. Schumacher was moved to a desk job March 14, two days after Gore visited the Church Without Walls in Houston, the parish to which Prince belongs and has given more than $1 million.

Waters' letter, dated August 20, 1999, asked Reno to investigate "rogue agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency" and said that Prince feared for his life. In an October statement, Prince accused Schumacher of having "no respect for the rights of individuals."

Schumacher has been involved in six fatal shootings in the line of duty, the Dallas Morning News reported. When asked Wednesday how many people he killed, Schumacher responded that he didn't "keep count," but that he had read the number in the newspaper.

"I've been involved in probably 12 gunfights, all of which involved numerous officers and numerous criminals," Schumacher testified, adding that in such situations it's difficult to tell who is shooting whom.

Waters, Prince and the church's pastor were not called to testify. None was available for comment.

Late in the day Wednesday, the hearing's attention turned to Scarface's lyrics. In the song "Look Me In My Eyes" (RealAudio excerpt), Scarface (born Brad Jordan) accuses Schumacher of harassing him, an allegation also made by Prince in his October statement.

On "Gangsta Shit," Scarface boasts, "There ain't enough bullshit in the United States to stop this Rap-A-Lot shit."

Early Thursday, Schumacher claimed that he had been told by a confidential informant that a contract had been taken out on his life.