Still in the crosshairs: Pete Stark

CONGRESS 15 | The National Journal’s Shane Goldmacher is either the most thorough political journalist in American history or he has nothing better to do than investigate campaign finance reports of bygone representatives no longer serving in Congress.

The conservative magazine’s Web site reported Monday former East Bay representative Pete Stark spent $2,240 in campaign funds last month on party supplies and a honky-tonk band named the Hula Monsters, according to finance reports released this month.

Stark was defeated last November by Rep. Eric Swalwell, also a Democrat, after 40 years serving the East Bay. Despite Swalwell’s victory, this latest piece by the journalistic industrial complex (also including the San Francisco Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci and Oakland Tribune’s Josh Richman) which has long been in favor of the newbie congressman, reeks of a hit piece against Stark by Swalwell surrogates.

Goldmacher, a former Los Angeles Times capitol reporter, is no stranger to Swalwell. He penned a positive profile on Swalwell last fall in which he tagged along canvassing a neighborhood in the Tri Valley. It’s unfathomable any reporter, especially a Beltway scribe, would have the time to research such a story, nevermind, actually reaching out to one of the band members who played at the Stark soiree, like Goldmacher did.

The story is also similar to a hit piece put out by Swalwell last year against Stark where his campaign attempted to mock him for allegedly using campaign donations to pay for clowns at his then pre-school children’s birthday party. The tagline then, as in this posting, is Stark’s treasurer is also his wife.

And while the National Journal speculates the party may have been thrown as a thank you to capitol staffers, in an equally speculative vein, it could have also been the family’s own farewell. Earlier this year, Stark said he plans on moving back to the East Bay from their Maryland home once the teenage Stark son settles into Yale this summer.