Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

So does Democrat Pete Stark represent California or Maryland?

Oh-oh, looks like more tax troubles for another Democrat in Washington.

California's Rep. Pete Stark, a senior House Democrat who helps write the nation's tax laws, has been claiming a $1.7 million Maryland home as his principal residence in recent years, although he represents the Golden State's 13th District on the east side of San Francisco Bay.

Veteran California Democratic Representative Pete Stark took tax benefits on a Maryland home as his principal residence

The 77-year-old Stark has saved himself nearly $3,900 in state and county taxes by claiming the six-acre waterfront estate as his principal residence, according to an investigation by Bloomberg News.

Maryland law allows the tax break only to those residences used "for the legal purposes of voting, obtaining a driver's license, and filing income tax returns."

Notified of the discovery, a state official said an investigation would be launched.

Stark tells Bloomberg, "Insofar as I know, I'm obeying the law."

Now in his 19th congressional term, the liberal Democrat and one of several Californians in House leadership under Speaker Nancy Pelosi, confirmed that he and his wife Deborah are indeed not registered to vote in Maryland.

He said they use her parents' address in San Lorenzo to maintain their California voting eligibility.

Stark would save another $3,770 under the same claim this year. He is the second-ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee. Members of Congress recently allowed their $4,700 pay raises for 2009 to take effect, a total spending increase of $2.5 million a year. They now each earn $174,000 annually.

Although much recent congressional attention has focused on corporate bonuses in New York, taxes seem to be the problem de la saison for Washington Democrats this winter.

Timothy Geithner had to pay thousands in back taxes before his confirmation as President Obama's secretary of the Treasury. Ex-Sen. Tom Daschle withdrew his name as secretary of Health and Human Services after revelations that he had paid $140,000 in back taxes and penalties on unreported benefits.

Nancy Kelleher, who was to be chief performance review officer for the new administration, also withdrew her name over a back-tax issue.

Another California Democrat, Rep. Hilda Solis, was confirmed as Obama's secretary of Labor when her husband paid up some 16 years of back local tax liens.

Earlier this month another Democrat, Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, had his similar Maryland state tax disallowed by officials for the same reasons, his home there not really being his principal residence.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Anyone can register here for automatic alerts via Twitter on each new Ticket item. We don't check your taxes.

Photo: Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (32)

The comments to this entry are closed.

There is a reason why Democratic politicians think nothing of taxing everything that moves and this story underlines that reason perfectly.

It would not surprise me to learn that Tom Daschle had a huge undisclosed problem with his "resisdence" also. While he was in the Senate he, of course, claimed residency in South Dakota, where there is no income tax. Now that he's racking up big money as a "consultant" to a lobbying firm, one can't help but wonder if he has in fact been paying his D.C. income taxes.

like I am surprised

Just one more example of congressmen,Democratic ones in particular,who have a destain of the laws that govern us and dishonestly avoid our tax laws.They are serious lawbreakers and should be removed from office and jailed.

How does someone who is a Representative afford a 1.7 million dollar house, and then not use it? Seems like there's a lot of spare change there.

Nothing to see here folks. Just another corrupt politician. Let's keep moving.

It must be great being a Congressman. You would think with $174,000 income, you wouldn't need to cheat on your taxes. I hear they have good healthcare too.

Amazing. Stark, just like Florida's Wexler, has manipulated the system to enhance his bottom line. Funny how these liberals look far and wide to reduce their personal tax liabilities. They are hypocrites - pure and simple.

Not only do these folks not pay their own taxes, but they freely spend our taxes that we do pay.

Let us not forget daddybush who maintained a residence in Texas while living in Kennebunkport, Maine and saved himself a bundle in not paying Maine state income taxes. When questioned about this, he maintained it was perfectly legal and a widespread practice.

These hypocrites are absolutely shameless. I am continually amazed at the idiots we seem to vote into office.

These liberal scumbags all behave alike. They impose horrendous taxes on our citizens and corporations, but when the issue is their bottomline they always look for ways to avoid paying taxes whether they are legal or not.
One has to wonder why their constituents always them to office. When so many of them think alike, someone is not thinking.

CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TODAY AND DENOUNCE THE PAY INCREASES FOR THOSE IN CONGRESS!! JAM THEIR PHONE LINES! REMIND THEM WHO THEY SERVE! These folks should be suffering along with the rest of us -- either a pay cut or a pay freeze; certainly NOT a pay increase. Do they really believe they deserve a pay increase for the work they have done for the AMERICAN PEOPLE??? They have not worked for the American people for a decade or more -- only the interests of the wealthy, the well connected, the corporations. They are just as guilty as those on Wall Street, if not more so. NO PAY INCREASES FOR CONGRESS! ENOUGH! And what is this story doing buried in a blog. The LA Times should put this on the front page. People need to know that our elected officials talk a good game -- mututal sacrifice, sharing the burden -- but fail to practice what they preach. They should all donate their pay raises to Bank of America, AIG or CitiGroup -- just like the rest of us are doing with our taxes.

Yet another Democrat, yet another scandal. Does this mean Stark is up for a post in the Obama cabinnet?

During the 1970's, Pete Stark was known as the only US Congressman, who had an unlisted phone number.
Because he is an Atheist, not even God knows how to get in touch with him.

Forget tax fraud. How about election fraud and VOTER fraud. He was not eligible to vote in California, let alone run for office, if his primary residence was on another coast.

I am sure it is Bush's fault. If that doesn't work, I am SURE it is the Republicans fault for not being bipartisan.

He is probably saving more than that on his real estate taxes. In Maryland, one is charged at a much higher rate for non principal residence property (typically vacation houses)

The tax on a 1.7M residence could be 17K annually

I finally understand why Democrats like to impose high taxes - they don't pay any themselves.

Taxes are for the little people.

Pete Stark represents neither California nor Maryland. Like most of the riff raff in Congress, he represents himself. It would be nice if the voters in his district remembered this come election time, but, I'm not holding my breath.

Pete Stark's constituency is Pete Stark. Almost all members of both houses of congress are the same. The statement is hedged because there are exceptions on both sides of the aisle, but very few. Term limits. Let's begin to clean house, now.

Pete Stark, and the rest of the bums in Washington need to be run out of town. Also, I thought tax evasion was illegal. Don't forget Charlie Rangle, he's another dodger, but so many dems. Kick em all out. They get elected and remain there like an incurable cancer, or blood sucking leech that we can't remove. For god's sake people speak up

Now wonder Dems are so keen to raise taxes -- they have no intention of paying them

"No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen."
- US Constitution, Article I, Section 2

If his primary residence is Maryland, is he constitutionally eligible to represent a California district?

The constitution cleary states that a congressman must live in the state that they purport to represent (Article I, section 2). According to this, they should be removed from office. How many representatives does Maryland wind up having? I do have some other questions. Did they pay state taxes in the states that they are supposed to represent? Did Md make them switch their insurance over for their cars? Where do their kids go to school? Just because Wexler changed his "principal" residence, he was guilty. Now, let's not forget the mortgage fraud, voter fraud, dmv fraud, insurance fraud, etc.

When are we going to get rid of these criminals?

So what else is new?

Schumer collected from Madoff-Dodd gets lower interest mortgage from a company he regulates-Barney Frank throws millions to an insolvent bank in his
district-Harry Reid throws hundreds of millions to build a fast train from Las Vegas to LA.
A new democrat tax cheat makes the headlines just about every day.Blaggo was just impeached and is facing criminal charges while gov. Judas is under
scrutiny for pay and play...that favorite democrat game. We need to throw out about 90 % of democrats come 2010.The rest are either too old or stupid to

I think if we just audit the taxes of the Democrates we could pay off the entire National Debt. Don't Dems have to pay taxes like everyone else?

Funny you don't mention the 4 GOP congressmen who claimed homestead exemption.

"Harry Reid throws hundreds of millions to build a fast train from Las Vegas to LA." Prove it dittohead.

If he doesn't live in the district but only uses his in-laws address for voting, then he is guilty of a crime. It's time for a recall or better yet, let's just fire his sorry ass.

I doesn't make a difference what political party you belong to.......Stark is a political elite who are just plain crooks. He reminds me of the communist party in difference....I sure there are too republicans and democrats who fit into the category of Stark....the intelligent people of district 13 in Cali should vote this crook doesn't even live in Cali...


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
Republican Politics
Democratic Politics



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: