Democratic Congressman Mike Honda, (D-CA), from the high-tech 17th congressional district in Silicon Valley, has a rather curious place for his campaign headquarters, the San Francisco Chronicle reports: inside the headquarters of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 521.
That address, 2302 Zanker Road, San Jose, is not listed as the campaign’s address on Honda’s campaign website; instead, 2050 Gateway Suite 100, San Jose, is listed.
Honda is running for reelection in the “jungle” primary June 3 against Democrat challenger Ro Khanna and Republicans Vanila Singh and Joel Vanlandingham.
The reason that the false address came to light is that the Chronicle reported that Honda’s address was outside the district he represents. The story revealed that not only was Honda’s field office located at 2001 Gateway, San Jose–outside the district–but that the 2050 Gateway address was, too.
When confronted with that information, Honda’s campaign said his address was the Zanker road address, which was inside the district boundaries. When campaign spokesman Vivek Kembaiyanwas was pressed further with the information that the Zanker road address was in the SEIU space, he said, “our campaign rents office space from SEIU 521.”
According to the campaign finance reports Honda filed with the FEC, he paid $3,900 for rent last year, while this year he is paying far more, a little more than $1000 per month.
One veteran Democratic consultant was surprised that Honda would share his office with a major labor union, telling the Chronicle: “It is weird that a major candidate wouldn’t have his own office space,” adding that Khanna and Singh could assert that Honda’s campaign “is the sole creation of organized labor.”
Jessica Levinson, professor of election law and governance at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said: “My main question is: is (SEIU) basically giving him a donation by letting him use the office for less than what a member of the public would pay? … It’s so clear he is aligning himself with the unions … its very visual. I mean, they’re roommates.”
She added that if Honda returns to Congress, “as an optical matter, it will be hard to distance himself from them. It gives the appearance he would be more reticent to vote against union interests. Because it would be really awkward to go back to your campaign office and find all those people you have potentially annoyed.”
Kembayian argued that the campaign has never buried the information of where Honda’s office is, and that the Gateway address listed on the Honda’s campaign website is a UPS “mail drop” address.
The most recent polling in the district showed Honda with a double-digit lead over all rivals, with Republican Singh in second.