Honda Burns through Campaign Cash; Name of Fundraising Efforts Has Link to Tragic Story

Sadako Sasaki was two years old when she survived an atomic bomb detonating a mile from her home in Hiroshima. Ten years would pass before she developed tumors and rashes on her skin. She was diagnosed with leukemia and radiation from the bomb was to blame. Bedridden, the little girl began to fold origami cranes. An ancient Japanese legend holds that anyone who creates 1,000 cranes will be granted one wish. Sadako’s only wish was to live.

Congressman Mike Honda has also has a “1000 Cranes” project, and he too wants to extend his life. His political life.

According to a transcript of a meeting between congressional ethics investigators and Ruchit Agrawal, the whistleblower in Honda’s ethics probe, the congressman and his campaign created a binder of highly valued donors, or “cranes,” to tap for campaign contributions. Honda's office has refused to return multiple calls for comment, but additional sources have confirmed the existence of this “1000 cranes” binder. The goal was to get 1,000 people to donate $1,000 each, which would then leave the campaign with a cool $1 million. 

These donors would allegedly have greater access to Honda for favors after an election.

“As far as I know, it's the Congressman's idea,” Agrawal told investigators, according to an unedited transcript. “It's a thousand people give a thousand dollars that's a million dollars. A social network to provide a club for the cranes. Also to provide an ability for them to do the transactional work that's necessary. Hey, my relative needs a visa, I'm interested in this public policy. It's a place to keep the donors, they can talk. I don't know if formalized or not, if it was just an idea, but there definitely was a binder for it I saw.”

The use of the 1,000 cranes legend, which is associated in modern times with the tragic story of a young girl killed by war, and using it as a model for collecting campaign cash, could be seen as insensitive considering Honda's own background. He and his family were placed in a Japanese internment camp when Honda was an infant, and it's a story he has called upon throughout his political career.

According to the OCE transcript, investigators also took a keen interest in staff emails that referred to “friends of MH,” with the initials standing for Honda’s first and last names. These people could also be “cranes.” Considering Honda has hired some of the best congressional investigation attorneys money can buy, he may need to add more birds to his binder. 

In just the second quarter of this year, Honda spent more than $65,000 on legal fees, which accounted for roughly 18 percent of the money he raised from April through June. Two of the three firms Honda hired, Brand Law Group and Miller & Chevalier, specialize in political scandals, with their clientele representing a who’s who of legislators who have been accused of breaking the rules. 

According to records provided by the Federal Elections Commission, Brand Law Group has received almost $890,000 from some of Congress’ most investigated legislators going back to 2006. A small sample of the roster:

  • Michigan Rep. John Conyers shelled out more than $99,000 over an eight-year period, with the highest single payment occurring during the same time his wife and then-Detroit city council president, Monica Conyers, was convicted on bribery charges.
  • Former U.S. Senator Larry “wide stance” Craig burned through $101,000 in a four-month period after the former U.S. Senator made headlines for trying to hook up in a Minneapolis airport bathroom.
  • Florida Rep. Rob Andrews racked up nearly $243,000 in fees over an eight-year period, before resigning last year while a House ethics probe looked into misuse of campaign funds.
  • Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. brought the firm on sporadically between 2010 and 2012, before being sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for misusing $750,000 in campaign funds.

Honda’s other specialized firm, Miller & Chevalier, has received more than $35,000 in payments from the campaign as of June 30. The firm recently handled an OCE investigation of Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), who was also under investigation for commingling House duties and campaign work. She paid Brand Law Group $74,000 in legal fees and was reprimanded for interfering with the investigation.

The House Committee on Ethics announced Monday it will extend its investigation into Honda, with a report on where things proceed coming no later than Sept. 3.

As the ethics probe into Honda moves forward, investigators will now have the power to subpoena witnesses who declined to meet during the initial review. Sources tell Metro that several witnesses hope to be called back to tell their side of the story.

UPDATE: The headline for this story has been updated. Honda’s campaign spokesman, Adam Alberti, sent the following note Wednesday afternoon:

Your ignorance of Japanese culture not withstanding, your story today goes beyond the pale. Linking the name of a fundraising program to a young girl who fell victim at Hiroshima is not only crass and sloppy, it is offensive.

The “1000 cranes,” or “Senbazuru,” is an ancient Japanese cultural tradition that is used in many ways today, including for wedding anniversaries, births and to cure sicknesses. The tradition goes that the making of 1000 origami cranes is said to provide a wish from a crane for eternal good luck or even a cure from sickness.

Your inflammatory description that this practice was borne out of the tragedy of Hiroshima is wrong and shameful, particularly in context of the Congressman’s history.

The fact that the ancient traditional act was used by a survivor of the bombing and has become part of the “Hiroshima story” is totally appropriate and understandable considering the cultural significance. That, however, in no way means that it is the only context of the ancient tradition. If that were the interpretation than weddings, births and anniversaries throughout the Japanese community would be celebrating the use of nuclear bombs on their ancestors rather than providing them with eternal luck or best wishes intended.

You owe readers a correction and an apology for your offensive copy that demonstrates either a deep cultural ignorance or a deep political bias—perhaps it is both.

Josh Koehn is the managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @Josh_Koehn.

73 Comments

  1. Soliciting campaign donations is illegal? Having bad taste (“1000 Cranes”) is illegal? There must be more to it than that.

    • What’s illegal is providing special favors (visas, first priority of constituent services, etc.) to people who make significant high dollar campaign contributions. I think that’s what they are looking into here. Also, campaign staffs and Congressional staffs are not supposed to be coordinating with one another in any way, shape, or form which appears to have occurred as well. Of course this is all “alleged” at this point.

      • The only individuals who are making significant high dollar campaign contributions are millionaire Khanna supporters from Silicon Valley tech firms ! His war chest is already three times as big as Honda’s & it’s the Khanna backers who are the driving force behind this investigation,intent on draining Honda’s campaign coffers further. Don’t be deceived by this poor excuse for journalism,Honda has a legal right to use these funds to defend himself against these politically concocted charges. If this sort of politically motivated attack on our Congressman angers you then join me & send his campaign a check today to offset these unnecessary legal expenses. Ro Khanna is as devious as he is ambitious & when his duplicity in this matter is finally exposed his political career will be only an unpleasant memory. Remember that while Mike Honda’s integrity has never been questioned during his long history of public service to our community,Ro Khanna’s has never even been mentioned in his short time in the political spotlight. In my humble opinion Ro Khanna has no integrity,no ethics & obviously no shame ! HONDA 2016 !!!

        • The Congressional investigation was extended with bipartisan approval. If this was just “a bitter ex-employee encouraged by a political rival to make nasty statements,” this would have been promptly fly-swatted away and it would not have taken nearly $70,000 (as of 6/30) for Honda to defend. This reminds me of my Republican relatives defending Nixon in the early 70s. “I believe in him, so this can’t be true!” or “Everybody does it!” (see first comment above). The truth will out.

        • Sorry…but I think you are delusional, Frank. I don’t know how you can call this a politically motivated attack. Honda’s former staffer is the whistleblower and there is email evidence that his staff in fact broke the law. Do you think Khanna has the OCE and House Ethics Committee in his back pocket? Puhlease!! If they are going to protect anyone, it’s most likely going to be the incumbent. If they didn’t find any real evidence, this would have been swept under the rug by now. Spoken like a true Honda supporter to turn around and point fingers and attack Ro Khanna. Tsk..tsk..tsk. I actually feel kind of sorry for you. Go ahead and fund Honda’s legal defense. He’s going to need it!

        • Sorry, not going to be fooled by this distract and blame the opponent strategy. Anyone can file a complaint but it takes two people, one from Democratic side and one from Republican side to give it in writing that there is enough evidence for the preliminary investigation to even start. Then it takes more than 50% of the Office of congressional ethics members to agree that there is wrong doing for the investigation to proceed to the next phase. So trying to blame Khanna for this debacle is not gonna fly. Sleeping in the job is one thing, people might feel sympathetic considering Honda’s old age. But no one likes a corrupt politician. Sure, go ahead and write a check and find yourself on the wrong side of the history and Justice.

  2. This independent OCE investigation isn’t based on just statements from the whistle blower (who of course is now being demonized by his former corporate employer, err, the Honda campaign); it’s written evidence of impropriety as well. For example, emails showing that Honda’s staff and campaign were routinely coordinating. Who knows what else the OCE will find?

    Bottom line: It’s getting pretty smoky in here, and we can feel the heat, but let’s see what the investigation concludes in early September.

  3. I just read Honda’s response. I’m at a loss of words.

    “That, however, in no way means that it (the Hiroshima story) is the only context of the ancient tradition.” Understood. And that it applies to weddings, births and anniversaries. Agreed. However, this article is about corrupt political fundraising practices (i.e., pay to play). I don’t think that’s what the 1000 cranes is about.

    At no time, in the Honda release, do they say, “we didn’t do it”, “a binder doesn’t exist”, etc. THAT’s what this article is about! I think the absence is the most telling. Once again, if you don’t have the facts to defend, scream and attack the author.

    Honda is perhaps the only Democrat to cry liberal media bias.

    • Wow!! Another nice try to distract from the subject. Honda’s camp sounds angry, a lot like his victory speech from last time. Let’s not forget what this is about, it’s about Honda wanting to have a club for his donors who will have direct access to him. Selling Democracy one piece at a time.

  4. I am appalled that after all that has been written in the last three articles about the Congressman’s fundraising efforts and OCE investigation that he or his campaign don’t understand how they themselves insulted and offended the Japanese culture by naming their fundraising campaign after a tradition that means to much to so many. Even though the 1000 cranes is a long-standing tradition, it became more widely known after the story of Sadako was published in 1977 in many languages all over the world. More people identify and relate with the 1000 cranes thanks to that story which is why it is most unfortunate that the congressman chose to name his fundraising campaign after a tradition that became more widely known due to a young girl’s wish to live.

  5. Kathleen Watanabe is right on. Honda’s hired damage control expert, Adam Alberti (from Singer & Associates PR firm), hit the nail on the head when he said, “Linking the name of a fundraising program to a young girl who fell victim at Hiroshima is not only crass and sloppy, it is offensive.” Yes, it is Mike Honda!!! The fact is that most local families know the term “1000 cranes” from the book “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” (which was part of the curriculum for both my daughters at their public schools). A deeply profound story for kids is subverted into a binder full of IOUs by Mike Honda. At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

  6. Not trying to apologize for Honda or excuse corruption, if that is what is going on here. My skepticism comes only from the fact that it’s quite clear a lot of people are vested in creating anti-Honda momentum. If you put enough negative buzz out there, public opinion can be swayed. And if you follow the money, I’ll bet a lot of the people generating negative momentum can be tied to the support base for Ro Khanna’s campaign. I do get it though. Starting an investigation requires bipartisan support (although can the Dems really keep face by saying ‘no don’t investigate’), there are emails, Honda hasn’t denied, etc. etc. My question remains — what does it all amount to? Sloppy work from dumb, overenergetic staffers or Corruption with a Capital C? I’m open to the possibility there is real corruption here. You folks who are crying corruption now — also be open to the possibility that this may not amount to a hill of beans. Certain things plainly are not illegal, no matter how slimy they look. It is not illegal to solicit contributions from rich donors. It is not illegal to engage in marketing campaigns, however crass. It is not illegal to talk to people, depending on when and how you do it. Have San Jose Inside staff met with Khanna’s support base, if not had lunch with Khanna’s campaign staff? Would not be surprised if they have. Does that look good for San Jose Inside’s objectivity? Not really. But is it illegal? No, it’s free speech.

    • > Not trying to apologize for Honda or excuse corruption, if that is what is going on here.

      I have no idea what the Honda drama is all about. It seems to me it’s a safe Democrat seat so it’s fundamentally an internal Democrat Party squabble.

      But, if I were writing a mystery novel, I would be tempted to speculate on something like the following:

      The bosses of the Democrat Party (think Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, John Podesta, etc ) are engaging in some periodic management of their “talent pool”. They look at their roster of players and conclude that Honda is not much of a contributor, has no “upside” potential, is at the end of his career, and has retired in place.

      For the future of the Democrat Party, it would be smart to bring in some young, energetic new blood who was some benefits like helping them with a new demographic — Indo Americans, is eager to earn his spurs, and will be a loyal team player.

      The problem is that Honda does not realize that he is “done”, and to tell an old reliable ETHNIC MINORITY warhorse that “you’re fired” would be just too politically incorrect and messy. There would be hard feelings, wailing, gnashing of teeth, name calling, etc. etc.

      So the clever way to do do things is simply to make it look like an accident or a “self-inflicted” political wound.

      In the case of Honda, the bosses of the Democrat party can credibly point to Honda’s ethical lapses as entirely his own doing, so it is a golden opportunity to take the moral and political high-ground, let the Congressional ethics process run its course, and collaborate with Republicans “in a bipartisan manner” to help maintain high ethical standards in Congress, and have “the process” remove Honda and create the “roster spot” for the next Democrat team player.

      • Thanks for quoting my first sentence before going off on a completely unrelated tangent ;)

        And for saying you have “no idea” what this is all about before trying to demonstrate that you are the only one who knows what this is all about.

        That said, I don’t completely disagree. My only disagreement is — the “future of the Democratic Party,” for California, is relatively intact. I think this is less about the Democratic Party than about Khanna’s personal ambitions.

        • > Thanks for quoting my first sentence before going off on a completely unrelated tangent ;)

          Your topic was . . . ” if that is what is going on here.”

          I offered another scenario for “what is going on here.”

          You’re a very sensitive person.

    • It looks like you have not spent enough time on this issue. Soliciting contributions from rich donors is not illegal nor is this about Honda’s marketing campaigns. If that were the case, no one would’ve filed a complaint or even if there was a one, the OCE would’ve thrown it out. Fact of the matter is – there are reports that his Congressional Office colluded with his campaign staff to raise funds – which is unethical. They shared information and donor lists and more importantly, the congressional staff which was paid to work for the constituents worked for the campaign. There are also reports that his hired staff was made to do work that they were not supposed to do in the first place. Now – when he hires high powered attorneys and pays them $65,000 to defend him on these allegations – surely there’s more on this than meets the eye. If I were a Mike Honda donor – I would definitely be alarmed that my money is being spent on the defense of his conduct.

      Yes, the Khanna campaign stands to gain from this – but this is all about Honda, his unethical conduct and violations and what he did or didnt do… it was first exposed by Mike Honda’s staffer who had nothing to do with Ro Khanna. Your claims about Khanna’s campaign staff somehow wanting to keep this issue alive are disingenuous at its best. Mike Honda and his campaign cannot escape the blame and the retribution that comes from it by blaming it on the complainant. Who knows if this is just a tip of the iceberg on what probably could be endemic to his conduct.

      • Could be. But (1) the OCE initiated an investigation; they did not arrive at a final conclusion; and (2) paying an attorney to take on a defense does not impress me as evidence of wrongdoing (it is what anyone in Honda’s position would do). If we adopted a ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’ mentality, every criminal charged with an offense would be convicted without a trial.

        Bias is a very real thing. Just within the comments section here, most people chiming in against Honda were Khanna supporters before any of this alleged scandal came to light. A simple Internet search with their names would demonstrate that. Nothing wrong with supporting a candidate, but this suggestion that the Honda ethics investigation has suddenly opened up people’s eyes to the appalling reality is a sham. People with agendas – whichever camp they came from – started this thing from the getgo. There is not a chorus of fresh, unbiased voices now realizing the truth.

        You say I would find clear evidence of wrongdoing if I spent enough time with this. Like I said, could be. Here’s the link to the House Ethics manual though: http://ethics.house.gov/sites/ethics.house.gov/files/documents/2008_House_Ethics_Manual.pdf.

        Here’s the September 2014 SJI expose that started this: http://connect.freedomworks.org/news/view/448356?destination=news.

        Frankly, both leave many questions unanswered. The SJI article quotes a House source saying “Events can be campaign or official, but they can’t be both. It doesn’t look good.” Ok, but who cares what “looks good?” What actually violates the law? What actually violates applicable ethical rules? In that regard, the House Ethics Manual apparently says – “a Member may not accept any contribution that is linked with an action that the Member has taken or is being asked to take.” Ok, but did Honda actually do that? He invited a group of potential, not actual, donors (“a list of South Asian tech/investment folks who’ve donated to candidates in the past but not to MH”) to a State Department Roundtable. Is that Roundtable, like a lot of government hearings, a public hearing? If so, what exactly is illegal or unethical about this?

        You have encouraged me to “spend time” with this, and I support that inclination. Let’s all spend time with it – rationally, thoughtfully, and to the extent we can, without bias or prejudice.

        • Obviously you have not read the transcript, if you had done you wouldn’t be making statements like “started this thing from get go”. What Honda’s camp did was simply called Pay to Play and what’s worst is setting up a social club for donors to deal with their requests. If you have $1000 then you get to have your congressman’s ears is simply wrong. More than 50% of OCE members certainly disagree with you and that’s why they have recommended it to the next phase. Please do not excuse bad behavior. Trivializing these violations shows total disregard for the law, the office he holds and to the people who elected him.

          • Your outrage here might be more believable if you weren’t paid staff from the Khanna campaign.

            http://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?14960723167

            And yes, I read the testimony, you are claiming the unproven accusations of a confused and disgruntled intern as fact. I’ll wait for the OCE’s findings.

            Reading this article and comments by Khanna volunteers and staff combined with the knowledge that Khanna, Law (Khanna’s campaign manager) and Koehn conspired to push Agrawal to go public with a case previously rejected by the OCE for lack of evidence, I can’t wait for this to backfire on you all.

  7. Josh, Metro,
    You’re milking these, ner do wells. I have not wanted to pick up a weekly metro Rag recently..
    I repeat, “Different Sh$t, Same Old Flys.
    Dan P. what happened to you guys.????????????????????

  8. Mr. Plumber, sad you have to resort to my employment with Ro’s Campaign for a short time during 2013 as a poor defense to Honda’s ethical violations. It’s not just accusations by confused and disgruntled employee, there are evidence in emails about coordination between Honda’s congressional staff and his campaign. Also let me point out that about the 1000 crane project in question, Honda’s office has not denied its existence. Their only gripe is the misrepresentation of the name, not the actual act. It is one thing to be loyal but to justify illegal violations is simply goes to show your unwillingness to accept the truth.

    • Like I said Shobana, I am open to the possibility there is real corruption here. But let’s wait for the OCE findings before jumping to conclusions. For something that is supposedly “all about Honda” and “nothing to do with Khanna,” it is worthy of note that most of the commenters are affiliated with the Khanna campaign.

      • I hope its more worthy for you to note that most of the commentators supporting Ro Khanna are using their real names (thus making it easy for you to identify them) whereas those who have things to conceal are not using their true identity.

        • Actually, other than their connection to Khanna, I don’t know that much about them. Not to mention many pro-Khanna voices do not use their real names. Also, you don’t know anything about me either. I can tell you that besides my distaste for Khanna’s say-anything style of politics (further left than Tom Lantos 10 years ago, further right than Honda now), I don’t really care that much who wins this race. Could I be lying? Sure. Could I be a secret Honda plant with more ties to the Honda campaign than I am disclosing? Sure. But in that case, if I were some secret bigwig within the Honda campaign, I likely would have better things to do than spending time commenting on an Internet blog site. And I likely would not disclose my anti-Khanna sentiments so readily. Think whatever you want. But no, I don’t plan on using my real name when entertaining myself on the Internet.

          • I respect your difference of opinion with me. But I felt compelled to reply to one point. I was opposed to the war in Iraq and the profiling of south asians when I ran a three month protest candidacy against Lantos as a 27 year old. I am very proud of that effort. I have always believed and continue to believe in human rights. I also have a strong belief in what we need to do to be economically competitive and build an innovation economy. The two themes are from my perspective not divergent. I try to articulate a coherent, consistent philosophy in my book on manufacturing. I respect that you may prefer other candidates, but I hope over the years I will be able to earn your trust and appreciation for my guiding values.

          • Thank you for your dialogue. I find your respectful and reasonable and happy to engage. I have not flipped. I have always been a human rights Democrat and have that view on civil liberties and foreign policy. I believe at the same time we need to embrace innovation and entrepreneurship and that will lead to a more prosperous and peaceful world. I do not view a pro innovation agenda as inconsistent with a human rights agenda. You asked specifically with my stance on labor. I support labor unions and their role in our economy. I am a strong supporter of increasing the minimum wage, have spoken out in Sunnyvale for a local hiring ordinance and against wage theft. I’d respectfully ask that you read the first couple chapters of my book on American manufacturing. I make a strong case for labor, and Richard Trumka blurbed the book. I appreciate the debate on policy which is what draws me to public service. Thanks for engaging, sir.

          • Ro Khanna, I’m in your district, and like Empty Gun, I, too, want to know what your position is on sanctuary cities. Thank you.

          • Thank you Mr. Khanna. I too appreciate the dialogue. I consider myself a relatively independent and open-minded voter who leans Democrat. I also don’t think Mike Honda is a bad guy. I’m not here just to prove I am right, because I know from experience I can be wrong. I will take a look at your book.

          • Thank you for your response sir. In 2004, it seemed your campaign took Lantos to task for not being a real Democrat. And his support for the Iraq war was in fact concerning to a good portion of the California Democratic electorate. In your run against Honda, it seems that has flipped. For example, your posture toward labor seems unclear. Again, thank you for responding.

    • cheeze whiz…where did I use your employment for Khanna’s campaign as a defense? VoiceOfReason pointed out all the Khanna’ supporters in this thread, google proved him correct.

      And as VOR says, let’s wait for the results of the investigation.

      The idea that campaign staff keeps a list of top donors is not such a surprise. Do you think if Khanna is elected would you expect him to accept calls from Peter Thiel? Or maybe the Enron billionaire from Texas that gave $350,000 to the super PAC created solely for Khanna?

      Again, I read the testimony, disgruntled and confused is a good description of the accuser and this testimony. Some might even say irate…

      http://www.mercurynews.com/nation-world/ci_26652024/honda-email-leaker-revealed-former-aide-arrested-death

      I will wait for the investigation before I make any concrete judgement on Honda’s behavior. I do like that he will no longer allow congressional staff to volunteer on his campaign, should be the rule of the land. Was also surprised that interns are not given clear rules of conduct from congress, should be required.

      Ultimately the intern should have gone to Honda with his complaints over the staffs’ actions, if he really believes this to be true…

      “Agrawal said he believes Honda is “a good human being,” and this entire affair is a matter of his staff getting messy as they rushed to raise campaign funds and support early last year in the face of Honda’s tough electoral challenge.

      “People get desperate in a system that forces you to constantly fundraise,” he said.”

  9. Solve the problem, put term limits on the Federal level and get rid of the perpetual dinosaur problem infesting the Government!

  10. Below is a statement from Ruchit Agrawal:

    I am issuing this statement because Rep. Honda’s campaign has regrettably chosen to personally attack me twice in the last week while attempting to address the ongoing ethics review of Honda’s office first reported by San Jose Inside.

    I am grateful that I live in an amazing country like America where I received a fair, fact-based inquiry from an objective authority when facing unproven accusations from a sitting member of congress.

    One of the lessons I’ve learned from this experience is the importance of due process. I request that all involved will allow the Congressman the same due process I received when the DA exonerated me.

    ###

  11. Our system is corrupt with all the money needed to win an election. I still will vote for Honda because I see Ro Khanna as a corporation who will not represent the people. Unfortunately, corporations are helping elect officials that will represent their interest only.

    Honda has helped many people and I hope he can continue to do so. Is he perfect, absolutely not but Ro Khanna scares me.

    • Right, let’s vote for the guy who sleeps on the job, has one bill to show, cannot answer any substantial policy related question without relying on his staff, has not had a single in person town hall meeting in the last three years and bends rules to raise funds.

    • Aurelia, I’m looking at Ro’s bio and a few articles. What part “scares” you? That he’s still paying off his college and student loans? That he’s a renter, saving to one to own a home some day? That he’s getting married next month and looking to start a family some day? That he served President Obama as his Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce? That he actually wrote a book about the experience and how manufacturing jobs can come back to America and the middle class. That he lectures at Stanford? That he only takes money from individuals and not corporations/PACs? That on social issues, there is no difference between him and Honda? What’s scary?

      Honda on the other hand has changed over the years. I don’t disagree…there was a time for Mike. When he was in his old district and even his prior elected positions. But DC has changed him. He has been banking for over a decade on the goodwill he created early in his career. The Khanna race has shined a spotlight on him, his work ethic (lazy), his “intellect”, his campaign tactics (dirty), and being beholden to DC Establishment (corporation/PAC $$ and special interests). Now this ethics investigation has highlighted his willingness to do anything to keep his job, even if it’s illegal, immoral and unethical. The 1000 cranes story is the most damning of all. It sickens me. To use your analogy, if a person or corporation (PAC) gave Mike $1000, then s/he went to the top of the list for all constituent services. THAT shows that Mike does not represent the people but his top donors.

      • Nonsense. it takes way more than a thousand buck to buy a politician these days, that might get you a thank-you note,
        and an invite to the next fund raiser to find out if you have real money!

    • I understand the process for potential “pay to play” ethical violations and know it is not political at this stage. These are serious allegations, an example of what’s wrong with our political system, and I am eager to see where this investigation leads. With regard to the notion that Ro Khanna is scary, that makes me chuckle. My husband and I, a welder and a public school teacher, know Ro is a smart, down-to-earth, compassionate man. Does he talk to wealthy business owners? Yes. Does he talk to small business owners, teachers, students, parents, retirees, welders, machinists, auto workers, you name it? Yes. Does he make himself available to talk to everyday folks about jobs, wages, education, healthcare, civil liberties, civil rights, women’s issues, any topic? Yes. Do people from all walks of life contribute to his campaign? Yes. We will vote for Ro because he is a consensus builder committed to problem-solving. We all have his ear.

  12. Bah I might as well throw my own letdown with Honda here.

    Mike karaoke’s ALOT. True fact. Another “True Fact” is, nobody in the USA is making karaoke music anymore. Where did the karaoke record labels go? It’s a long, complicated story that breaches everything from bad laws, copyright, and music piracy.

    Karaoke in the US isn’t a huge industry. At it’s height (about 2002, or when American Idol came out) I think the NAMM music report said it was around [email protected] Last year it dwindled down to $13m total.

    (source, 2014 NAMM Global Music Report: https://www.namm.org/files/ihdp-viewer/global-report-2014/A7352D4907B25A95B2CE27A075D3956F/2014MusicUSA_final.pdf )

    I saw the writing on the wall around 2006 and urged Honda to do something about it. One night as visited my bar he told me, “Write to my office about it” and I did. A few months later Meri Maben wrote back, something along the lines of “Copyright is a complex issue, we’re not going to touch it”

    For myself and 2 friends, we invested a lot of sweat equity into building a karaoke jukebox that could *fix* a lot of these problems. We couldn’t get it out to market because how can we compete with DJ’s that come in with a laptop filled with free (pirated) music working for $50 and drinks? Short answer, we couldn’t.

    It was just a letdown on so many levels that my congressman, who’s supposed to be looking out for things like this decided to let the US part of the karaoke record label industry die. Sure, maybe it’s a small chunk of the overall money the US government collects, but in total over 1000 studio musicians, studio engineers, marketing folks, etc lost their jobs.

    Mike, we both know each other well enough. If you would have helped me and the industry then, you would have had your “1000” donators/Cranes from this segment of the music industry. What is $1m of $220m? 1/2 a percent? It would have been a drop in the bucket to us if you had only helped us.

    We’re dead now. Industry is completely dead in the water. You could have done something Mike. I’m very shocked and saddened you did nothing.

    • Oh, my dear friend Cortese !! Long time no see !!!

      Well, I think it is terrible about the karaoke industry. Seriously. A pox on Mr. Honda for not helping to save the industry. Maybe if the karaoke folks had ponied up some more money things would’ve gone differently. A karaoke lobbyist would have been in order, I’m sure.

      Now, if we could just figure out a way to save Shrimp Boy before it’s too late.

      • In 2008 the remaining karaoke companies formed “KAPA” (karaoke anti piracy agency) where I served as a technical adviser. They flew me out to Baltimore all expenses paid. “Lobbyist” and “Throwing money at Mike” were my major suggestions, which fell on deaf ears, along with other suggestions..

        Copyright is something decided on by Congress. Congress authorized the formation of “PRO’s” (Performance Rights Organizations)
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Performance_rights_organisation

        Each pro is allowed to collect royalties on the behalf of the copyright holder. The big 3 in the US are ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.

        This is why bars have to pay these agencies fee’s to play music of any kind. Even if it’s just a radio.

        With karaoke, they should have lobbied to either allow existing PRO’s to collect fee’s, or lobbied for congress to create a new PRO dedicated to collecting royaltees for karaoke record producers.

        Instead they just made a bunch of stupid choices and died. $220m to $13m in 15 years. Sad.

        • After sitting through what seemed to be ends hours of drunken a stupor in Japaneses Karaoke bars listening to off key drunken singers, I long for the days of drunken Mariachi and German om-pa bands.
          I’ll not miss the ringing in my ears or the boredom of another flat version of Imagine.
          Anyone seen my Hula-hoop?

        • Absolutely scandalous. Another reason why I don’t trust politicians. Once elected, they don’t seem to care about anyone except people who are in a position to make big campaign donations.

          And, hey, to resurrect “old times,” did you read about Manh Nguyen already being fined, even before taking the oath of office? This quote is from the Mercury News a couple weeks ago: “San Jose’s Ethics Commission, a five-member panel tasked with monitoring city campaign laws, unanimously slapped Nguyen this week with a $10,000 fine, its largest penalty in nearly a decade, for filing 99 late campaign contribution forms for donations totaling $271,386 and failing to report an additional $11,634 in contributions.”

          Now I feel vindicated for questioning his ethics. In hindsight, as hard as it was at the time, I’m now glad I stayed away from the polls on election day.

          Oh, and get this: A few days before the election, I talked with a Manh campaigner. I told him I was quite fed up with all the negative campaigning by both candidates, that it made me feel like not voting even though I always vote. I was incredulous when he replied thusly: “Yeah, we sure didn’t end up with the two best candidates, did we?” And this was one of Manh’s OWN PEOPLE !!!! Wow.

          • Cortese,

            Voluntary? I don’t think so. Google “Manh Nguyen fined” and you’ll see the Merc article and can read it in its entirety. It says he violated laws.

            Here is another quote, though, from the ethics commission chair (Smith):

            “Smith said Nguyen has attempted to correct the problem by filing the required reports, but they’re still incomplete or insufficient.

            Smith said the commission had leeway to penalize Nguyen up to $5,000 per penalty or three times the total money involved for each violation — whichever is higher. The commission’s $10,000 fine was reasonable, Smith said, considering it could have been more than $100,000.”

            All these shenanigans. It makes me sick. Where is the honest politician who wants to do the right thing and answers to the voters and not the fat cats?

  13. I forced myself to read your hard drinking Honda,piece in your Metro Rag. You got nothing!
    I thought as such.josh, you have made me miss Jack VandZant, so much.
    Your the guy, that throws a table spoon of Sh$t, into a gallon of ice cream. Now it all sit.
    I’m discussed, and at a loss for your motives.

  14. > Whats your opinion on sanctuary city’s while your on the line Ro?

    I would like to know what his opinion is on government officials and politicians obeying the law?

    Should they be expected to obey the law, or is it just optional?

  15. Mr. Khanna:

    > I have always been a human rights Democrat and have that view on civil liberties and foreign policy.

    Please explain what a “human rights Democrat” is.

    I’m familiar with constitutional rights, as defined in the constitution. I’m aware of civil rights, as set out in federal and state statutes.

    But what is your understanding of “human rights”?

    Who awards “human rights”, and what do “human rights” provide that are not already provided by constitutional rights and civil rights?

    Do you have an official, comprehensive list of “human rights” that I can compare and cross reference with constutional rights and civil rights?

    • Obviously a very sarcastic question aimed at attacking the candidate. From my personal experience I can say that Ro has always been eager to engage in good policy debate and in addressing real challenges. Mr. Outside the bubble, maybe you should ask him a question that’s worth his time and everyone’s time.

      • So, you’re saying that Khanna’s claim to be a “human rights Democrat” was not meant to be taken seriously.

        Are you associated with the Khanna campaign?

        • Not saying human rights should not be taken seriously. I’m talking about your question, which I feel was asked just for the sake of an argument. Nothing substantial or intellectual about it.

          • Shobana, I think SJOutside’s question is quite legit. Why are you so defensive? I hope Mr. Khanna will come back here and re-read all that has been written since he first posted. Several of us have questions about sanctuary city policies and other things. Mr. SJOutside’s question went to the heart of Mr. Khanna’s political philosophy, which is definitely something voters have a right to know about. I am a voter in the district in question. I don’t like Democrats usually, but I do have to vote for SOMEONE. Your disrespectful tone doesn’t serve Mr. Khanna well. Are people only allowed to ask him fawning questions?

          • I certainly hope Mr. Khanna would also take the time to come up with some thoughtful answers.
            I very much admire politicians that will say what they believe in and not behave like a political wind sock.
            I can’t seem to get any answers from Mike Honda in privet or from this open forum.
            The podium is open Mr Khanna.

          • First of all, I don’t think my tone was disrespectful. I was just stating my opinion. I do not speak for Mr. Khanna or represent him in any official capacity. I’m a voter and shared my thoughts just like everybody else in this thread.

          • Okay, Shobana. Thank you for clarifying. I am also a voter, an undecided and independent one. It just seemed to me that you were dismissing SJOutside’s question when you said there was nothing “substantial or intellectual about it.” From reading other posts, I got the impression you were affiliated with Khanna’s campaign, at least in the past.

            I think I speak for many voters when I say that we are tired of scripted politicians who say what they think they need to say to get elected, but who then, once elected, turn into a totally different animal. (Hey, maybe that’s why Donald Trump is appealing to so many people. Love him or hate him, his candor about his true thoughts is not something we’re used to hearing from candidates for political office.)

          • > I’m talking about your question, which I feel was asked just for the sake of an argument. Nothing substantial or intellectual about it.

            Mr. Khanna described my question as a “thoughtful question”.

            Nyah.

    • A very thoughtful question. I view human rights as John Locke did. These are natural rights that are inalienable endowed by a higher power and are not for government to bestow. Every individual is born with these rights. The Constitution makes sure that our government never infringes on these rights. The civil rights movement made sure that these rights are applied equally regarding of race or creed. By a human rights Democrat, I mean we should respect these inalienable rights seriously of individuals even if they are born outside the United States. We still must treat them with respect and dignity and respect their desire for freedom. This is the point I believe John F Kennedy made in his first inaugural. In America we value the freedom of human beings and their rights wherever in the world they may reside. We should conduct our foreign policy with a view to respecting the dignity of all individuals and standing up for human rights.

      • Thank you Mr Khanna,
        You have a refreshing view of the Constitution considering the current Administration, Congress and Supreme Court have all but thrown it out and are rewriting to suit there own needs.
        Human rights of Americans seem to be tacking a back seat to those who have kicked in the door. Cheap labor and easy votes has become the target of both party’s.

        Mr Honda, keeps telling me about getting apologies from the government of Japan for slave labor and comfort women
        of WWII that’s nice, but I’d much rather he stick with current events. Thousands of women and children have been taken for the slave trade and as hostages both in Africa and right here on our southern boarder.

        Our Administration and Congress at best have turned a blind eye and outwardly blocked law enforcement by Federal and Local officials. This is nothing less than selective and unequal enforcement of the law for a purpose.

        Beyond that local City’s or now thumbing there nose at Federal official’s and writing there own Sanctuary City laws.
        Yet the administration claims to be the only enforcer immigration law through the Supreme Court, US-VS-Arizona.

        Mr Khanna, I’d like to know the people I help send to Congress are going to work to restore order tho the Government
        and replace people that just seem to be Government ZERO”S.
        Thanks for your Time

        Mr Gunn

      • So I’m still not clear as to what your position is on sanctuary cities. Can you please elaborate? The statements you said above sound lofty enough, but how are they applied?

        Also, can you please explain what makes you different from Mr. Honda.

        Do you favor more H1B visas?

        I would appreciate direct answers.

        Thank you.

      • Evidently Mr. Khanna doesn’t feel my questions are worth a reply.

        Hmm.

        I don’t like Mike Honda. That doesn’t mean Ro Khanna can automatically count on my vote. I don’t see much difference between the men. I watched the debate the last time they went against each other, and darned if I could find a substantial difference in their positions.

        Do I go with the devil I know, or the devil I don’t?