STARK CHARGES BLUE DOGS WITH TAKING INSURANCE CO. DOLLARS WHILE RECEIVING MEDICAL LOBBYIST DOUGH
When it comes to getting his campaign nourishment in Alameda County, Rep. Pete Stark prefers the big dollars in Washington. According to the web site, MAPLight.org, he ranks number one among those in Congress for receiving the highest percentage (99.6 percent) of fundraising dollars received from outside of his district. Stark was also ranked second in contribution received from outside his state (95 percent). (See the graphic below.)
Despite representing one of the more wealthy districts in the country, Stark has tapped the medical and pharmaceutical lobby's of Washington dry over the years. The long-time congressman from the 13th district, is often a target of health care dollars as chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee. Stark is also a firm supporter of health care reform, yet in the past, according to MAPLight.org, he has received tens of thousands of dollars from the health care field just days before voting on a House bill and on two occasions receiving $10,000 for two contributions the same day as a vote in their favor.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons contributed $20,000 to Stark's coffers in a three day period when four House bills involving the medical industry were set to be voted upon. H.R. 1014 and H.R. 758 were approved by Stark on Sept. 25, 2008 and coinciding with $10,000 in campaign funds received. Another bill, H.R. 6983 was preceded by $5,000 by the same group and H.R. 2994 was voted in the affirmative by Stark and followed by another $5,000 donation the next day. None of the four bills that Stark receiving campaign donations were of any controversial matter and fell in line with other votes on health care, but perception of the medical lobbyist having a hand in his votes seems evident.
In total, Stark received over a $1 million in a three-year period ending in 2007 from various medical fields and organizations. The number is quite high for a congressman who routinely runs unopposed and regularly garners more than 70 percent of the vote in his district.
Stark's predilection towards receiving campaign donations from the medical industry comes in conflict with his now-infamous "Brain Dead" comment last August where he charged moderate Democrats with hampering health care reform legislation by doing the insurance companies bidding in exchange for campaign dollars. "They're for the most part, I hate to say brain dead, but they're just looking to raise money from insurance companies and promote a right-wing agenda that is not really very useful in this whole process," Stark told a group of reporters during a conference call on the issue.
Stark's comments towards his Blue Dog colleagues in the House also mirrored that of The Nation and giving some semblance of solid left wing support on the charge, but the work of MAPlight.org shows the congressman who is standing fervently in attempting to enact a health care bill featuring the public option, is also lavished with an inordinate amount of money from outside groups, in addition, to lobbyists with no discernible interests in the people, infrastructure and ideology of the inhabitants of the East Bay.
The Citizen FILE on Pete Stark, campaign finance
>>>>Questions over Stark's $3500 Health Care Fundraiser, July 20, 2009.