The Office of Congressional Ethics found “substantial reason to believe” that Rep. Mike Honda used official resources for campaign purposes and that he improperly linked official activities to campaign support, it said in a report. And the House Ethics Committee announced that it will continue to review allegations against the California Democrat that were first made during his tough 2014 reelection campaign.
The announcement comes as Honda is gearing up for a bitter rematch against fellow Democrat Ro Khanna, a former Obama trade official that he narrowly defeated last year. The extension of the review is likely to keep Honda’s ethics troubles in the spotlight as both candidates compete to represent the Silicon Valley seat.
“There’s going to be an awful lot of focus on this,” San Jose-based political analyst Larry Gerston said. “As with any issue that’s hanging over an incumbent’s head, it forces the incumbent to spend a good deal of his time and energy responding to allegations, rather than moving forward.”
San Jose Inside published emails last September that allegedly showed Honda’s chief of staff and campaign manager considering potential future donors as a criterion for selecting invitees to a State Department event. Additionally, the article reported that official resources were allegedly used for campaign purposes. Later that month, the Cupertino and Milpitas mayors—who both supported Khanna—filed a complaint with OCE. Honda’s office has cooperated with the investigation.