Ro Khanna, the tech-funded Democrat challenger to incumbent Democrat Rep. Mike Honda in California’s 17th congressional district, has launched a blistering attack against Honda over alleged ethics violations. Khanna, citing an investigative report by the San Jose Insider, accused Honda of using his office to raise campaign cash by coordinating invitations to a State Department event with donations to Honda’s ongoing re-election effort.
Two local elected officials, Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteves and Cupertino Vice-Mayor Rod Sinks, have filed an ethics complaint with the House Office of Congressional Ethics, and held a well-covered press conference at Khanna’s campaign office late last week. The relatively new OCE is distinct from the House Ethics Committee, and allows the public to file complaints for review before they are taken up formally by the House.
Ethics complaints are common in congressional races. However, this one may stick–not just because the media pay more attention to complaints filed by a Democrat, but because the source of the allegations is a former Honda staffer, and because the coordination described in leaked emails seems deliberate.
The questions remaining are: how serious the violation actually was, whether it was the only one, and whether voters care.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the forthcoming ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak