Pete Stark, Eric Swalwell

ELECTION ’12//CONGRESS 15 | Dublin Councilman Eric Swalwell’s campaign for the 15th Congressional District is attempting to poke holes into Rep. Pete Stark’s strong opposition to Citizens United.

On Wednesday, Swalwell and supporters, like Alberto Torrico, reacted sharply to a Facebook posting by the Stark campaign asserting their opposition to the controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision effectively viewing corporations as people and ushering in a new era of exorbitant and unlimited campaign financing from wealthy interests.

However, Swalwell has long maintained in numerous stump speeches that Stark’s previous public statements belie his stance against Citizens United. “Desperate flip-flop or confused?” asked Swalwell on various social media outlets this week, while citing Stark’s answer during the infamous April 10 candidates forum in Hayward. When asked about his stance on Citizens United, Stark said:

“Corporations are treated as people, and they should be under the Constitution. The answer there is that if a corporation does something that a person could be prosecuted for, like Mr. Swalwell, if a corporation takes a bribe, the head of the corporation should be responsible criminally for that act, just as a person would be, so that every corporation must have an individual who is responsible and has to answer to the law for any crimes committed.”

Sharon Cornu, Stark’s campaign manager said the congressman’s stance against the ruling has been consistent and referred to citations in the Congressional Record starting in June 2010 that show Stark’s opposition, in addition, to early support for the DISCLOSE Act, which calls for greater transparency in campaign finance. “Anybody who knows him knows he is not afraid to take on big money interests,” said Cornu, who also called Swalwell’s accusation a “non-issue.”

“Let’s call this what it is–swiftboating,” said Cornu. “Our opponent is turning the truth on its head. He’s like Paul Ryan and the Republican convention–refusing to let the facts get in the way of his campaign. I ask our opponent to check the facts and retract his spurious allegation.”