OCE Referral Regarding Rep. Fortney Pete Stark
On November 12, 2009, the OCE transmitted a referral to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct of the United States House of Representatives regarding Representative Fortney Pete Stark.
Nature of Review
Representative Fortney Pete Stark has listed a house he owns in Harwood, Maryland as his principal residence on Maryland tax forms. By doing so, Representative Stark received state and county homestead tax credits and any annual increases in his home assessments were capped at no more than 10 percent. In order to qualify for the Maryland Homestead Tax Credit, Maryland law requires the home to be used as the owner's "principal residence" - where the homeowner regularly resides and is designated for voting, obtaining a driver's license, and filing income tax returns. Representative Stark pays California resident taxes, has a California driver's license and is registered to vote in California.
Representative Stark's conduct may have violated Maryland law and the Code of Ethics for Government Service if he misrepresented information on the Application for Homestead Tax Credit Eligibility in order to prove eligibility.
The Board of the OCE recommended that the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct further review the above allegations concerning Representative Stark.
On January 28, 2010, the Committee issued a report finding no further action was warranted, dismissing the matter, and considering it closed.