Biggest Takeaways from the Rep. Mike Honda Congressional Ethics Probe
– San Jose Insider
A congressional ethics probe doesn’t reflect well on Congressman Mike Honda, center, and his chief of staff Jennifer Van der Heide, second from left. (Photo via Facebook)
“Mike Honda has a huge problem. The ethics investigation into the eight-term congressman continues, and details released in hundreds of documents Thursday suggest his staff viewed official business as a commodity to be sold in exchange for campaign support. There’s also the issue of House staff routinely doing campaign work on taxpayer time.
The congressman may have no choice but to burn through campaign dollars for top-notch attorneys to make an embarrassing defense: The congressman shouldn’t be blamed for any violations because there was a lack of institutional control.
The arguments his lawyers make in response to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) report is that even if something bad did happen, Honda had no clue. His chief of staff, Jennifer Van der Heide, and longtime district director, Meri Maben, had a much harder time making that argument. But that’s why Honda’s campaign is also paying their attorney fees.
We’ve combed through the all of the documents and here are some of the biggest findings:
The “1,000 Cranes” project—1,000 donors each donate $1,000, which equals $1 million—was discussed at a September 2012 retreat in obvious quid-pro-quo terms. It also appears to be Congressman Honda’s own idea.
Honda told investigators that retreats are “all official” business. When shown notes from Heystek’s presentation in 2012, as well as notes from an October 2013 retreat presentation from then-campaign manager Doug Greven, Honda admits improper coordination “did occur, I guess.” The OCE report has notes from Greven’s presentation that says policy will lead to district work, which is then parlayed into raising money for the campaign.
Honda says what we’re all thinking—“it doesn’t look good.”
…Continue reading @ http://www.sanjoseinside.com
– Essentially Mike Honda had his staff working on how to raise money for re-election by selling his office for any and all comers at 1000 dollars a pop. That has to be one of the cheapest bribes on record in the world. And this is the guy who represents a piece of Silicon Valley in the United States Congress? There’s more…./CJ
Honda Foe Khanna has painted him as out of touch and bought off by special interests
Khanna has the support of many big names in Silicon Valley, for example venture capitalist Vinod Khosla.
The Silicon Valley is gearing up for yet another race between incumbent Congressman Mike Honda and challenger Ro Khanna, who nearly took the seat from Honda in the 2014 midterms. That year, they faced each other in the primary and, again, in the general election — which Honda won.
This time around, Khanna maintained a scant 177-vote lead over Honda out of more than 67,000 ballots cast. And, as in 2014, they’ll face each other yet again in the November runoff.
“Ro Khanna is not your average candidate,” veteran political consultant Andrew Acosta said. “He’s well-positioned and has worked in the Obama administration.”
Khanna, who served from 2009 to 2011 as the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Department of Commerce, represents some of the stiffest competition faced by any incumbent Democrat in California.”
…Continue reading @ Capitol Weekly
Ethics report: Rep. Mike Honda, staff appear to have violated federal law, House rules
– San Jose Mercury News
“Congressman Mike Honda and his staff appear to have improperly used U.S. government resources to benefit his re-election campaign and linked official activities to political donations, the Office of Congressional Ethics said Thursday as it released a long-awaited report.
The pattern of allegations represented the most serious charges leveled against a Bay Area House member in recent memory.
The independent nonpartisan office’s 41-page report, presented to the House Ethics Committee on June 5 but not made public until Thursday, details a series of instances in which Honda’s staffers — particularly Chief of Staff Jennifer Van der Heide and former District Director Meri Maben — blurred or crossed the line between their official duties and working for Honda’s campaign.
he report — based on a dozen interviews and about 1,400 pages of emails and documents provided by Honda’s office — says office staffers doubling as campaign volunteers apparently researched a potential campaign opponent, prepared campaign materials, used information from the congressional office for campaign purposes and regularly discussed campaign matters at official staff retreats and during “coffee breaks” in Honda’s congressional offices. Accounts from current and former staffers vary on whether these things occurred on the taxpayers’ dime.
According to the report, Honda told investigators he has attended his district office’s staff retreats, which he said were all official business. Then the investigators showed him notes from an October 2013 retreat at which campaign manager Doug Greven said that Honda’s Washington office makes policy, the district office arranges events and the campaign uses those events to raise money.
“It’s open to a lot of interpretation, but it doesn’t look good,” Honda acknowledged to investigators.
The congressman said this week that he was “pretty upset” and “disappointed” to learn of blurring of his office and his campaign, but that it had escaped his notice because he has “a very heavy schedule and I delegate a lot of the day-to-day activities,” a situation he “can only surmise” is typical of many lawmakers. “But like I said in the last campaign, I take full responsibility for that.”
Congressman Honda: Illegal Border Crosser ‘Kind of Person I’d Like to Have’ in America
– PJ Media
“PHILADELPHIA — An individual who crosses the border illegally into the United States is the kind of person Americans should want in the country because of their “strength” and “will,” Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) told PJM.
Honda was asked for his response to GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, who said illegal immigrants broke federal law after crossing the border and should be sent back to their home countries.
“We break a lot of laws in this country, you know, like selling firearms that shouldn’t be sold and get sent on the other side of the border to be used nefariously. I think that we have to look at why people come over and use that as a judgment rather than saying you didn’t come through the proper process. The process is broken,” Honda said at the Democratic National Convention.
During Operation Fast and Furious, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) allowed gun dealers to sell firearms to illegal straw buyers with the hopes of tracking them. Some of the guns were lost and later traced to crime scenes on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, including the death of Border Patrol officer Brian Terry.
“We’re looking at youngsters who braved two or three borders to get here to escape rape, murder, the fear of terrorism of gangsters in Central America, and we’re telling them they’ve got to go back. What kind of a person has the strength and the will to travel that distance and come across that border? That’s the kind of person I’d like to have in this country. Give me a person with that kind of will and character and I’ll tell you that’s going to be a good American,” Honda continued.
The backlog of legal immigration applications is estimated at more than four million. In addition, 273 judges in the U.S. are currently handling more than 500,000 immigration cases, according to the Washington Examiner. Honda was asked if those should be processed before any pathway to citizenship is offered to illegal immigrants.”
…Continue reading more @ PJ Media on the wayward California congressperson./CJ