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Mike Honda Lawyers up to Fight Ethics Claim

Rep. Mike Honda (D), who represents Silicon Valley in Washington, has hired two high-profile Washington law firms and a California-based PR team to handle his image and political future following a substantial investigation into ethical wrongdoing. Honda is accused of having mixed government and campaign business.

“My staff and I have fully cooperated with OCE in its investigation related to allegations raised by a disgruntled former staffer,” Honda (right, above) reportedly said in a statement to CQ Roll Call. “The legal expenses noted on my campaign expense report reflect charges associated with the investigation by the OCE. The FEC expressly allows for the use of campaign funds to pay legal expenses in connection with such inquiries.”

So far, Honda has reportedly paid more than $35,000 to Miller & Chevalier Chartered, a Washington-based law firm, nearly $29,000 to the Brand Law Group and more that $7,000 on media services from California-based PR firm offering crisis communications Singer Associates, Roll Call notes.

Honda also faces a potential probe by the House Ethics Committee into the matter, which came to light in 2014. The Ethics Committee is reportedly expected to announce whether it will launch a full-fledged investigation into the incident on Sept. 3, the same day they made their non-partisan 41-page report on the matter public.

Honda’s long-time Chief of Staff Jennifer Van der Heide had reportedly blurred the lines between her official government duties and Honda’s reelection campaign by coordinating with Honda’s then-campaign manager for a State Department event at Santa Clara University in February 2013, which targeted the congressman’s fellow South Asian constituents.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that Honda, Van der Heide and campaign members told investigators that guests of the 2013 State Department event were never solicited for campaign contributions. However, Van der Heide had reportedly emailed a campaign official asking “how are we doing to outreach to them for $?” When investigators asked her what she meant by that she responded “I don’t know.”
This coming election cycle, Honda will again face off against fellow Democrat Ro Khanna (left, above), who lost to the eight-term incumbent by a very narrow margin last year.

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