Pete McCloskey

Congressman, Author

Paul N. "Pete" McCloskey, Jr. was born in Loma Linda, CA, in 1927. He attended Stanford University for his undergraduate studies and graduated from Stanford Law School in 1953. He served as a Deputy district Attorney in Alameda County until 1955. He founded the firm of McCloskey & Wilson in 1958, in Palo Alto, CA. He was President of the Palo Alto Bar Association in 1960, the Conference of Barristers of the State Bar in 1961, and served as a Trustee of the Santa Clara Bar Association from 1964-1967. He has taught political science, legal ethics and constitutional law at Stanford and Santa Clara Universities, and lectured at the Army War College of Carlisle, PA, and the Marine Corps Staff College at Quantico, VA. Pete received two Purple Hearts, Silver Star and the Navy Cross as a Marine rifle platoon leader in the Korean War. He was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives in 1967, and re-elected seven times, representing the San Francisco Peninsula area, including Silicon Valley. Pete served, with US Senator Gaylord Nelson, as the co-Chairman of the first Earth Day in 1970. He ran for the Republican nomination for the Presidency in 1972, challenging Richard Nixon's Viet Nam war policy. He made the first speech on the House floor advocating that the House consider impeachment proceedings against Nixon on June 6, 1973, on the grounds of obstruction of justice. The was the first Article of Impeachment adopted by the House Judiciary Committee a year later. He was co-author of the Endangered Species Act and served six years as Congressional Delegate to the International Whaling Conference, and as Congressional Advisor to the Law of the Sea Treaty Delegation under Chairmen John Stevenson and Elliot Richardson. While in Congress, McCloskey challenged Israel's use of cluster bombs in Lebanon, and spoke out against Israel's illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Palestinian territories in violation of international law. McCloskey was appointed by President George H. W. Bush to the U.S. Commission on National and Community Service in 1990, confirmed by the Senate and elected as its first Chairman for three years. In 2006, Pete came out of retirement to challenge Congressman Richard Pombo in the Republican primary in California's 11th Congressional District, because of Pombo's efforts as Chairman of the House Resources Committee, to eviscerate the Endangered Species Act. McCloskey lost, but the effort succeeded in costing Pombo his seat. McCloskey's family having been Republicans in California since 1859, Pete, in 2007, disgusted with the acceptance of torture and violations of International Law by the Bush Administration, became a Democrat. He was particularly incensed by the legal opinions of Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo, and David Addington, who felt the President was entitled to authorize the torture of enemy captives in violation of the Geneva Convention. McCloskey has written four books: The U.S. Constitution (B.R.L, 1961); Truth and Untruth- Political Deceit in America, (Simon and Schuster, 1971); The Taking of Hill 610 (Eaglet Books, 1992); A Year in a Marine Rifle Company- Korea, 1950-1951 (Eaglet Books, 2013); and An Honest Public Servant, a Brief Biography of Manual Lujan (Eaglet Books, 2016.) McCloskey married Helen Hooper McCloskey in 1982. The McCloskeys live in Rumsey, CA, where they grow olives and citrus on their small organic farm, and Madrid, NM. Both are political activists, working on electoral, environmental, animal welfare and social justice issues.