Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) has reportedly been spending his depleting campaign-funds on lawyers fees stemming from an investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics in which the seasoned congressman has been accused of mixing official government business with his reelection campaign.
In the second quarter of this year alone, Honda reportedly spent more than $65,000 on lawyers while he has $360,000 available on hand, according to the local CBS News affiliate in the Bay Area.
With more than $1 million cash available on hand in his own campaign war chest, Honda’s fellow Democratic challenger, Ro Khanna, is winning in the battle for money.
“Honda, right now, is really having to devote a lot of time and energy and money to the ongoing ethics investigation and answering questions about what he knew and when he knew it,” Melinda Jackson, a political science professor at San Jose State University, told CBS.
Questions have been raised as the legality of spending campaign finances on legal fees. However, a spokesperson for Honda’s campaign reportedly said it’s perfectly legal for campaign contributions to be used for his legal defense.
“We believe that this complaint is inherently political, raised by Rep. Honda’s political opponent in a cheap effort to get votes,” the Honda campaign reportedly said in a prepared statement.
Khanna lost to Honda by a modest margin (3.6%) in 2014. In addition to support from heavy hitters in the tech industry, Khanna has recently received the endorsement of several Democratic heavyweights,including State Senate President Kevin de Léon, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and several others. The 2014 Silicon Valley race was one of the most expensive in the Golden State.