Pete Stark is Nuts…Is that even news any more?

Politico is reporting on California Rep. Fortney “Pete” Stark’s bizarre ethics interview last year.  The good Congressman was absolved of wrongdoing for claiming a homestead tax in Maryland (which is applicable only to primary residences), due to the fact that his ‘official’ residence is in the state he represents (as required by the Constitution….those wily founders thought someone should actually have a connection to the state they represent).  They do a nice job of laying out some of Stark’s more eccentric behavior, but is it really news that Pete Stark is nuts?

According to Politico: 

Stark, the second-ranking Ways and Means Committee Democrat, was “extremely belligerent” toward interviewers from the Office of Congressional Ethics last year, insulted the staff members who came to interview him and had a video camera in his office during the session, according to a recently released report.

 “Throughout the interview, Rep. Stark was extremely belligerent and frequently insulted the OCE staff members interviewing him,” Kedric Payne, the investigative counsel, wrote in a memorandum deep in the 122-page report. “Approximately 15 minutes into the interview, it also became apparent to the OCE interviewers that Rep. Stark was videotaping the exchange.” It is not standard for members to record interviews with the OCE, but members have the option of having a court reporter present for interviews.

A few things about that excerpt struck me.  First, it only helps us drive home the point that liberals in Congress are elitist, out of touch and have a sense of entitlement that is beyond reproach.  The mere suggestion he acted inappropriately is apparently sufficient for a steward of our tax dollars to lash out at those serving on a panel established by his dear friend, Speaker Pelosi, to give the façade of integrity in her swamp.  Class act, Pete – going after those who are simply doing their job, hiding behind an oversized ego to distract from your diminutive mental prowess.  Second, Pete Stark videotaped the interviewers without their consent and, for a period, without their knowledge.  Given that this man has railed against the incursions of the Patriot Act, one would expect him to adhere to those same precepts of freedom and due process in his taxpayer-funded office that he expected authorities to confer on suspected criminals and terrorists.  Opposing the Patriot Act, Stark stated, “Using the PATRIOT Act over the last four years, the Bush Administration has monitored meetings of citizens who dare to criticize their government. It has searched homes without warrants and listened in on phone conversations without any reasonable justification. If this is the price of security, now is a fair time to ask: what security have we gained?”  I guess job security trumps national security, and the rights of congressional staffers.

Politico also mentions this tidbit:

Stark has a history of unusual behavior, but the latest episode is significant because he is in line for the powerful Ways and Means Committee chairmanship should Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) have to step aside because of his own ethics issues.

I guess the drain on Nancy’s swamp is clogged.  At least we know that if Rangel is forced aside, the status quo will remain on Ways and Means.  I think it’s time to tie the mantra of ‘Culture of Corruption’ around Pelosi’s neck.  She campaigned vigorously on ethics and even has the audacity to say she is running the most open and ethical Congress in history…and she didn’t even laugh or seem to notice the irony.  Healthcare bills crafted behind closed doors?  300 page amendments dropped in the hopper at 3:00am the day of controversial votes?  Stark, Rangel, Mollohan, Jackson Jr., Richardson, Visclosky, Waters and countless other members of her caucus are actively or have been under investigation since her ascent to the Speakership.  Stark is not alone in ethical trouble, he is just the most humorous to watch squirm.

Politico barely scratches the surface of Stark’s wacky antics.  Other highlights from Stark’s illustrious thirty-eight year career in the house: 

Claimed the more we owe in national debt, the wealthier we are.  Then told the interviewer to get the **** out of here.  Classy.

“You don’t have the money to fund the war or children.  But you’re going to spend it  to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough to send to Iraq to get their heads blown up for the President’s amusement.”  Yeah, because that is a great argument to support SCHIP. 

His not at all insulting comments on religion.  Funny thing is, he believes his existence is proof you don’t need religion to lead a moral and just life.  Someone really needs to teach classes in irony on the Hill. 

Apparently passing foster care legislation makes them proxy-grandparents to foster children everywhere.  I know Hillary said it takes a village to raise a child, but I don’t think she intended it to be spearheaded by the village idiot. 

A beautiful voicemail left for a constituent who had the sheer audacity to write his congressman criticizing his vote on a controversial issue, Iraq. 

And the best: “I wouldn’t dignify you by peeing on your leg. It wouldn’t be worth the urine.” One must have a high opinion of oneself to ascribe that kind of value to one’s urine. 

With his record of constituent services, I am dumbfounded that he is still in office.  No wonder California is in the shape it’s in – you have an electorate that thinks this is the best Representative they can get in Washington.  Add to it the fact that Stark called has insulted a black HHS Secretary as a disgrace to his race; called Congresswoman Nancy Johnson a whore for the insurance industry; challenged Scott McInnis to a fight in the Ways & Means Committee, calling him a little fruitcake; used anti-Semitic insults against a Jewish colleague for supporting the Persian Gulf War; and referred to moderate members of his caucus as brain dead.  Pete Stark is nuts and, I would argue, has proven himself mentally unfit to serve in office.  I have come to expect a certain amount of liberal insanity coming from the San Francisco Bay area (probably as a result of Stark), but this guy is beyond the pale.  Just out of curiosity, is it too late to rescind the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo?

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