Eric Swalwell, the fellow Democrat challenging 20-term incumbent Rep. Pete Stark in the newly drawn 15th Congressional District, has retained a lawyer to demand that Stark retract a public accusation of bribery that he leveled at Swalwell during a candidates’ forum last week.
Swalwell’s campaign announced Tuesday it has retained attorney James Wagstaffe of San Francisco – a renowned defamation lawyer – who will send a letter to Stark on Wednesday asking for a retraction of the accusation or else face legal action.
Stark’s campaign consultant, Alex Tourk, hasn’t returned e-mails asking for evidence to substantiate the claim Stark made during the League of Women Voters of the Eden Area’s candidates forum one week ago in Hayward City Hall. Swalwell on Tuesday provided a video clip of Stark, at a town-hall meeting with constituents this past Saturday, saying that Swalwell’s Federal Election Commission reports and personal financial disclosures back up the bribery claim:
“My latest FEC filing is public as well as my Form 700s that contain information about my personal finances since being elected to the Dublin City Council. Again, there is no proof to these outrageous and untrue allegations,” Swalwell said Tuesday. “It is unfortunate that Congressman Stark is lying to the voters. This outright lie is an escalation in bizarre behavior from Congressman Stark, and we deserve better.”
I scanned Swalwell’s filings late last week and didn’t find anything like what Stark described. But maybe I missed something; feel free to double-check me by clicking below for Swalwell’s:
2010 Form 700 personal financial disclosure
2011 Form 700 personal financial disclosure
2011 third-quarter FEC campaign finance report
2011 fourth-quarter FEC campaign finance report
2012 first-quarter FEC campaign finance report
UPDATE @ 9:44 A.M. WEDNESDAY: There is one thing I missed in Swalwell’s 1st-quarter 2012 FEC report: Pete Stark’s ex-wife, Carolyn Wente Layton of Livermore, gave $250 to Swalwell’s campaign last month; her brother Philip Wente gave $2,000.
UPDATE @ 4:27 P.M. WEDNESDAY: Stark has apologized, saying he “misspoke.”