Progressive Activist Arrested for Allegedly Assaulting Interior Department Staffer

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

U.S. Capitol Police arrested a man on Thursday for allegedly assaulting a communications team member from the Department of the Interior following a budget hearing on Capitol Hill where DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke was testifying.

Following the House Committee on Natural Resources hearing, the man, who identified himself as a reporter with American Bridge 21st Century, reportedly pushed DOI Press Secretary Heather Swift to the ground in pursuit of Zinke.

Swift told Breitbart News she is grateful to law enforcement and shocked by the incident.

“First of all I want to thank the Capitol Police for their quick action and professionalism,” Swift said. “It happened so fast. It was terrifying and I still can’t believe it happened. He is a big guy. He came up behind me fast, aggressive and very physical. Who knows what this lunatic was thinking?”

Police “arrested an adult male for simple assault against another individual outside room 1324 in the Longworth House Office Building,” an officer told Politico.

A person familiar with the incident said the man is Mark Stark, a left-wing activist with a history of disruptive behavior.

The Washington Post reported on Oct. 31, 2017, that Stark was arrested after arguing with police and refusing police orders at a parade in Virginia.

The local NBC affiliate in Charlottesville, Va., ran a letter written by “citizen journalist” Stark after a run-in with staffers of then-Sen. George Allen (R-VA) at a campaign stop.

A Wikipedia page says Stark has written for the Daily Kos and the Huffington Post.

At his arrest on Thursday, Stark said he was a reporter with American Bridge 21st Century, which, according to its website, is “a progressive research and communications organization committed to holding Republicans accountable for their words and actions and helping you ascertain when Republican candidates are pretending to be something they’re not.”

Swift said the anti-Trump aggression toward supporters is contrary to Democrats’ claim that they are pro-woman.

“Since joining the Trump Administration I’ve received harassing and threatening tweets, emails, phone calls, and letters (to include death threats) but being physically targeted and assaulted brings it to another level,” Swift said. “This violent action only strengthens my desire to serve my president and my country.”

“Democrats claim to support women but they allow their operatives to assault women,” Swift said. “They need to immediately denounce this type of violent behavior.”

Laura Rigas, DOI communications director, agrees.

“I am greatly alarmed and extremely irate that a female senior member of my DOI Communications team was physically assaulted … by a Democrat staffer from the PAC American Bridge,”  Rigas said in a statement. “These politically motivated, personal, written, verbal, and now physical attacks against Trump administration officials must stop.”

“Violent physical attacks have no place in politics, at work, or in our society,” Rigas said. “The perpetrator has been arrested and charged, and we thank the Capitol Police for their quick action.”

According to Open Secrets, left-wing billionaire George Soros has contributed $2 million to American Bridge 21st Century in 2015 and 2016. In 2015, left-wing climate change activist Tom Steyer gave the organization $250,000.

Police did not respond to a Breitbart News’s request for confirmation that the man arrested is Stark.

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