Chuy's Owner No Enemy of GOP

After a restaurant manager decided to call police on President Bush's twin daughters, resulting in underage drinking charges and a media frenzy, some in the White House smelled a rat.

At least one senior administration official intimated to reporters that Chuy's, the restaurant in Austin, Texas, where Jenna and Barbara Bush allegedly were trying to drink, "is owned and operated by liberals."

After all, the restaurant had called 911 and even some reporters to inform them of the situation.

But while the owner of Chuy's is certainly a partisan, he's no liberal.

Chuy's President Contributed to GOP Candidates

In fact, Michael Young, co-founder and president of Central Texas Chuy's Inc., has shared more than $11,000 with Republican Senate candidates since 1998.

Young, who has steadfastly refused to talk to the media about the Bush matter, describes himself as a "free-market capitalist."

"Anyone who knows me wouldn't say that I'm a liberal," Young said.

Perhaps the senior Republicans were thinking of John Zapp, another senior officer of Chuy's Inc. Federal Election Commission records show Zapp gave $1,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Zapp helped Young found Chuy's in 1982. The pair turned a broken-down Austin barbecue joint into a successful Tex-Mex chain with locations in Texas' largest cities.

Paul Brady, listed in state documents as vice president of Chuy's, has no contributions on file with the FEC.

Owner Apologizes

Young broke his silence about the incident today, acknowledging to the Austin American-Statesman that his staff could have taken a different approach in dealing with the Bush girls.

"Usually we wouldn't have handled this in the way it was handled," Young told the paper. "With that said, these are very unusual circumstances. A packed restaurant with high-profile celebrities there puts a lot of pressure on your management team."

The manager who called the police, Young said, would keep her job. But in an e-mail response sent to people complaining about the incident, Young and Zapp write: "We realize that many of you are upset with the recent occurrence at our Barton Springs location, and we want you to know that we are too."

Josh Gerstein and Brian Hartman contributed to this report.

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