Stark faces ethics investigation

A senior Democratic lawmaker is currently facing an official investigation from the House ethics committee, the panel revealed last week .

Rep. Pete Stark (Calif.), the No. 2 Democrat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, will face an ethics probe for an undisclosed matter. The committee released a statement revealing the investigation late on Christmas Eve, a statement which went unnoticed until Tuesday.

The California lawmaker’s name surfaced earlier this year in a confidential ethics document leaked to the public that detailed investigations under way by both the OCE and the ethics panel.

That document, dated July 2009, indicated the OCE had reviewed Stark and three other lawmakers after news reports indicated the Members had received a Maryland tax break intended for state residents. OCE terminated those inquiries without recommending a formal ethics investigation.

Stark serves as chairman of the Ways and Means healthcare subcommittee.

The House ethics committee notified Stark, a nine-term lawmaker from Northern California, of an investigation in mid-November. The committee said it would conclude its investigation in early February.

A Stark spokesman did not immediately return a request Tuesday for comment.