Leaked ‘1000 Cranes’ List Links Congressman Mike Honda to Pay-to-Play Actions

Earlier this month, an anonymous envelope arrived in the mail. It contained what appears to be Congressman Mike Honda’s “1000 Cranes” list, the million-dollar Rolodex of 1,000 donors who contributed at least $1,000 each.

The fundraising initiative—the political equivalent of an airline or hotelier’s loyalty program that provides preferred customers with room upgrades or seats with more legroom—never hit its body count. It nonetheless provided concierge-grade representation in Washington, D.C.

Honda’s employees referred in emails to “friends of MH,” meaning they were given priority over other constituents. Faster, better government access for those who could afford it. 

Honda, in many ways, lost the benefit of the doubt when the Office of Congressional Ethics decided that there is “substantial reason to believe” the eight-term congressman violated House rules. The bipartisan panel released a 41-page report in September that recommended the House Committee on Ethics further investigate Honda (D-San Jose) and his staff for using “official resources for campaign purposes.” Another conclusion was Honda’s biggest campaign contributors may have received favors, such as access to the congressman or even help in facilitating immigration visa requests.

The “Cranes” database (posted below) appears to have fallen short of 1,000 check writers, noting just 281 people and groups who helped support the congressman’s 2010 and 2012 re-election efforts. But many contributors gave far more than $1,000. The documents list some of the most influential people, unions and political action committees (PACs) in national politics, as well as difficult-to-attain personal information, like the phone numbers of billionaires.

In addition to the amount each contributor gave in two separate election cycles, the “Cranes” documents include: addresses, home and work telephone numbers, employers and, if required, nicknames for the congressman to use when addressing individuals.

Honda campaign manager Michael Beckendorf agreed to discuss the “Cranes” list by phone Monday evening, but only if the conversation was kept off the record. He did not return a follow-up call.

A review of the list, along with a crosscheck of contributions made to Rep. Honda’s campaigns and official actions he took while in office, suggest that “Cranes” received preferential, if not transactional, treatment.

On Oct. 12, 2011, Honda walked on to the House floor and wished Takayoshi Oshima a happy birthday. It was a short speech, all of 441 words recorded in the Congressional Record, but a nice gesture to the CEO of Allied Telesis. What the record did not note, however, is that Oshima was Honda’s single biggest campaign benefactor in 2010, and a week prior to the birthday wish, Oshima maxed out with a contribution of $2,500. In total, Oshima gave Honda’s 2012 campaign $15,000: $5,000 to his actual campaign, and another $10,000 to Honda’s PAC, New Vision America Fund.

In the spring of 2010, Honda introduced the Smart Electronics Act, H.R. 5070. The bill’s goal was to create new requirements on greenhouse gases when manufacturing smartphones and other electronic devices. Sehat Sutardja, CEO of the Santa Clara-based Marvell Semiconductors, Inc., was quoted in Honda’s press release and described as “a leading industry proponent of the bill.” 

What the release omitted is that just six months prior, on Oct. 4, 2009, Sutardja and Marvell co-founder Weili Dai, both listed as “Cranes,” gave Honda’s 2010 re-election campaign the highest permissible contributions of $4,800 each—as well as a combined $10,000 for Honda’s PAC the same day.

Anita Chan, a retired homemaker and noted “Crane,” has supported Honda throughout his time in Congress. Her inclusion on the list is significant because the only bill Honda has authored in 14 years in Congress led to a San Jose post office being named in 2009 after Anita’s late husband, Gordon Chan, a commercial flower grower and civic volunteer. Anita Chan gave Honda $4,000 in 2010 and $2,000 in 2012.

Honda has mostly refrained from commenting on his “Cranes” list and the House Committee on Ethics investigation, but on Monday he attended two fundraisers co-hosted in Silicon Valley by “Cranes” Ta-Lin and Joyce Hsu, and C.C. and Regina Yin. The events sold a variety of contribution levels and teased access to Gary Locke, the former U.S. Ambassador to China.

Hari Sevugan, a spokesman for Ro Khanna, Honda’s challenger in last year’s elections and rematch opponent for 2016, said that Honda’s decision to attend the event instead of budget negotiations in Washington D.C. “doesn’t just show how unessential he is to this Congress, but where his priorities lie.”

Sevugan added: “It used to be sort of a joke that Mike Honda has only passed one bill in his eight terms in Congress, and that was to name a post office. Now that we know the post office was named for one of his top donors, it’s also telling.”

In an email, Beckendorf called criticism of Honda’s decision to return to the district “absurd and unfounded.”

Attempts to obtain more information from Honda’s office over the last several months have gone nowhere, in part because Congress—unlike other federal agencies—is not subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. This means, there is no way to compel release of information related to Honda’s interactions with his nearly 300 “Cranes.”

Tim Wong, CEO of the Nevada-based company Arcata, was noted as a “Crane” in 2010 ($2,400) and 2012 ($1,000), and, in March 2014, Rep. Honda escorted the businessman around Capitol Hill for photo ops, according to Wong’s Twitter feed.

MIke-Honda-Tim-Wong-Twitter

Famed venture capitalist Vinod Khosla was listed as one of Honda’s “Cranes” in 2010 and 2012, when he gave $2,400 and $2,500, respectively. But in 2013, Khosla threw his support behind Khanna. A year later, Honda was free to slam Khosla’s efforts to shut off public access to Martin’s Beach, which traversed the VC’s property.

Honda received plenty of well-deserved kudos for his commitment to public spaces, but his outrage was absent in late 2012, when he still had Khosla’s support—and money.

In one of President Obama’s more recent trips to Silicon Valley, Honda escorted the POTUS to the home of real estate magnate George Marcus and his wife, Judith. Both are listed as “Cranes,” and the two have been among Honda’s biggest supporters. Each maxed out in 2010 ($4,800) and 2012 ($5,000), and the Marcuses also kicked in $5,000 for Honda’s PAC during the 2012 election cycle.

One of the more intriguing details of the “Cranes” list is that it doesn’t differentiate dollars given to Honda’s PAC and his actual campaign. In fact, on more than a few occasions, donors contributed money on the same date to both campaign funds.

Ann Ravel, chair of the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) and former lead counsel for Santa Clara County, told San Jose Inside that FEC rules are notoriously loose. In the history of the commission, she noted, there has never been a single investigation into improper coordination between candidate committees and PACs.

“Obviously, people can contribute to both of them legally, the issue is the question of coordination,” Ravel said. “As I have decried before, the rules on coordination were written many years ago, prior to the existence of Super PACs, and the commission has been unwilling to write rules that would address some of these issues.”

Sources suggest Honda may be benefitting from the slow turning wheels of government’s self-policing mechanisms. In its recommendation to continue investigating Honda and his staff for commingling representative government and political campaign activities, the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) recommended that Honda’s 2014 campaign manager, Doug Greven, be subpoenaed to testify.

Greven has not returned calls for comment, but sources say that the House Committee on Ethics has still not contacted Greven more than three months after the OCE’s report was made public.

Linked is a PDF of what appears to be Congressman Mike Honda’s “1000 Cranes” list. Home addresses and phone numbers have been redacted.

Pages 1, 2 and 3 of the “1000 Cranes” list are also linked as JPEG files here:

Page 1
Page 2
Page 3

Josh Koehn is the managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to josh@metronews.com or follow him on Twitter at @Josh_Koehn.

71 Comments

    • Ro Khanna is a significant upgrade from Honda – I thought the guy was a carpetbagger a couple of years ago,but getting to see how involved he has been in the community – I think he is the right person to represent us in Congress. Honda is a corrupt liar who obviously is more focused on holding on to power and rewarding his friends with backroom deals than actually representing San Jose in Congress.

  1. > Famed venture capitalist Vinod Khosla was listed as one of Honda’s “Cranes” in 2010 and 2012, when he gave $2,400 and $2,500, respectively. But in 2013, Khosla threw his support behind Khanna.

    Well, make that 999 Cranes.

  2. Just when I think I couldn’t be more disgusted with Mike Honda, I read this! Thank you Josh and San Jose Inside for your diligence and dedication to getting to the root of this ongoing ethics investigation. This new evidence of Mike Honda’s pay-to-play scheme with wealth donors embodies everything that is wrong with politics today. Sadly, Mike Honda clearly doesn’t appear to care. Over the weekend I received a franked mail piece from Honda. Not only did he lie about having one of his sponsored bills passed, but it had the blatant look and feel of a campaign flyer with no substance paid for by the taxpayers. This isn’t the first time he’s done this either. His Republican opponent filed a complaint with the House Ethics Committee a couple of days ago. It’s good to see that someone is calling him out on it, but sadly nothing will likely be done as the House never fires their own members. It is up to the voters to replace corrupt entrenched politicians. People really need to wake up, because these kind of shenanigans are happening all over the place. Our democracy is in the crapper and it is causing growing cynicism amongst voters, especially young people. Silicon Valley and Americans deserve better! http://www.ebcitizen.com/2015/12/hondas-republican-opponent-files.html

  3. I am blown away by these findings. It’s rare when you can unearth actual instances of wrongdoing, by name & $$, in politics. The mere fact that Congress has shielded itself from the FOIA process is unethical and immoral!! I desperately hope that the SubCommittee subpoenas Greven et al from the OCE report, but also expands its search and issue additional subpoenas to many of these donors – i.e., Cranes. If Josh K uncovered all of this just by online searches, I wonder how much more would come out under oath by the investigators. Boy, I would hate to be a Honda Crane now. Would NOT want to be on that list. If they’ve given this year, or worse, this quarter, I can only imagine the future scrutiny placed on them. Refunds anyone?

  4. Wait… so all I have to do is give large donations to Mike Honda and he’ll sing happy birthday to me on the FLOOR OF CONGRESS? Wow. I don’t even have words for how insane that is.

    • Good deal though, right? I mean having all those a**holes sing Happy Birthday to me personally would bring me great joy!

  5. So…what happened here is someone with an agenda looked up all of Honda’s donors from 2010 and 2012 on FEC. Then, they sorted for those with more than $1000. Then, they created a new excel spreadsheet and sent to Josh Koehn by “anonymous mail” to make it seem suspicious.

    Obviously, donors get treated better than others. But, each of these people have real substantive accomplishments in business and civil life.

    Correlation is not causation and all that.

    • Not exactly, Associates Only. The spreadsheet has confidential information that Josh K redacted for publication. That info is not published publicly in any FEC reports (i.e., personal tel #, cell #, emails, preferred names, notes, etc.). That’s only info that his campaign and/or office would have – thus, an internal document.

      • Okay, say given there is preferred name, notes, etc that this could only be internal document. Someone could have also just made up the preferred names and phone numbers (how could Josh K verify the accuracy?), but I agree that its unlikely.

        Therefore, very interesting question who exactly leaked an internal document and with what agenda? It has to be somebody who was or is in Honda world based on what you just concluded that its an internal document?

        Did they know that this document would come up in a document collection they are doing for the ongoing investigation and chose to get ahead of the story to have it come out now rather than after the election?

        • If you recall from Josh K’s Sept article, the guy who originally filed the OCE complaint in early 2013 and leaked the internal emails re: pay to play evidence was a staffer who quit because he felt what he was asked to do was illegal and unethical. This year’s OCE investigation certainly proved that out. However, Honda’s team went after the whistleblower with a vengeance and tried to destroyed his life. One would guess that there are other former/current staffers who felt similar disgust and distain for Honda’s office practices and want it to end.

          • The Khanna campaign filed the complaint. No one with that sort of baggage would have wanted to escalate it the way they did by holding a press conference on the complaint they filed. Of course, it was stupid as usuall by them because if they wait till after the election then OCE report comes out closer to June 2016.

            Going to the source of the story – Why would this person “disgusted” not just give this list to the OCE rather than giving to press? Also, do you really think that anyway is shocked by politicains being nicer to donors? Didn’t Khanna say he talked to person who gave a large sum to the PAC supporting him about pensions and the like?

    • I don’t know about the list, but there’s not much that is actually scandalous in this article. Quoting someone in a press release for supporting your bill who also donated to you is evidence of illegal favoritism? How about that person is just a supporter of Honda’s? Where’s the favor? Wishing a friend happy birthday is being bribed? The post office was named *before* additional donations that continued years later from the widow, who has been a lifelong supporter? Maybe that person is just a friend. A “friend of MH” may not be a euphemism.

      • I totally agree. All these supposed pay-to-play examples are lame. Sounds like either Metro has a vendetta or can’t see the lousy journalism they are doing. Happy birthdays, post office names, and a mention in a press release on a bill that doesn’t favor the company, do not rise to any level of malfeasance.

      • The issue is not really the accuracy of the donor list, but the ubiquity of such lists among virtually all members of both houses of Congress, and the inequity of singling out Honda for having one.

        • It’s fair to single out someone for greater scrutiny when former Honda staffers tell federal investigators that laws were broken and the Office of Congressional Ethics confirms there is “substantial reason to believe” the allegations have merit.

          JK

          • These are apples and oranges. The mixing of campaign business with normal office business (an acknowledged problem long since corrected), has nothing to do with having lists of campaign donors. The ethics inquiry only related to the former.

        • Stop being a Honda apologist – in your eyes this guy walks on water – give it a rest.

      • The list is probably accurate, but you’re being misleading that there was definitely active confirmation. This is what the article actually says. “Honda’s campaign manager, Michael Beckendorf, in a response to POLITICO, did not dispute the authenticity of the “Crane” list, but dismissed the document as ‘nothing more than a list of donors that anyone could obtain from public record.’”

  6. There are 3 reasons I don’t understand why Congressman Honda is being singled out for paying attention to large campaign donors: 1) Every single member of the House and Senate does exactly the same thing; we would think them ignorant or naive if they didn’t. 2) They all have to do this because we the people won’t insist on full public financing of campaigns which would free all our elected representatives from having to chase campaign funding, and/or Republicans block all such efforts. 3) Honda has a superlative record of, and reputation for, helping non-donor constituents; any account of Honda’s actions that omits this is clearly biased and unfair.

    • Thanks for leaving a comment like this. We’ll be updating our comments policy after the New Year and this will make for an excellent example of what not to do.

      JK

      • There’s No reason to change the comment policy. There is no sane person who believes that the article is a “KKK tactic.”

        I think we are fortunate (in a crazy way) that Comments like this and others that immediately claim racism as a motive for everything the commenter disagrees with simply define commenters like VBS for the kooks they are.

        This isn’t the first time VBS has claimed someone here is a racist it’s just the first time VBS has accused the Great Josh Koehn …and now JK is going to change policy??? Pretty friggin weak.

        He called several regular posters racists a few weeks ago and we gave it back to him in spades with no response at all because there is no legitimate response.

        This behavior is representative of the issues going on in this country between communities and the police, students and there universities and muslims vs every one.

        No one can say or so anything without some chump manufacturing a grievance and accusing the offender of being a racist opresssor.

        Enough of this nonsense call VBS out for his BS make him explain himself or write him off with all the other race baiting whack jobs

        • VBS, aka Gil Hernandez, has been accusing many of SJI’s bloggers of being racists for months, and there was no response from Josh. But now that he accused Josh of being a racist, suddenly it’s no longer OK and Josh is changing policy enforcement. Perhaps Josh forgot (actually, it’s more likely that he never knew) that in 1978, the ACLU took a controversial stand for free speech by defending a neo-Nazi group that wanted to march through the Chicago suburb of Skokie , where many Holocaust survivors lived. The ACLU lawyers who took that case were Jewish. Josh has also threatened to delete my SJI account because of my criticisms of his girl Jenn. Here’s Josh’s email to me:
          JMO,
          I’ve warned you multiple times to stop attacking reporter Jennifer Wadsworth [technically correct, he “warned” me twice to stop picking on Jenn. Has he warned anyone else? Pretty much everyone disagrees with her stories. ], but it seems you just can’t let this odd vendetta go. While you’re entitled to your opinion, that doesn’t mean it needs to be on San Jose Inside.
          If you keep it up I am going to delete your account. That would be a first, which is saying something. [Yes, it would be saying quite a bit about your view of free speech Josh]
          JK
          Josh Koehn
          News Editor
          Metro
          408.200.1336
          josh@metronews.com

          The US Supreme Court has on many occasions reminded us all that polite speech does not need protection. It’s abusive speech, yes even hate speech, that needs protection. Dan Pulcrano needs to reel Josh in. It’s Josh who is out of line, WAY out of line.

      • YO Josh! Will this recent SJI header also fall under your new deletion guidelines?
        “Meet David Gerard, the Dumbest Person in Local Education” Probably not, since it didn’t criticize either you or Jenn.

  7. The only shocking thing about this is the attempt to portray it as something out of the ordinary and readers falling for it. This is the way of American politics and even more so with Citizen United. Wannabe Woodward and Bernsteins are just trying to make themselves seem like they are discovering what we already know.

    • Well said. There’s more “Dark Money” sloshing around in our political system than Darth Vader can count. For starters we need to get the new “Voters’ Right to Know Act” onto the ballot next November. Watch for petition signature gatherers and sign up ASAP. (See http://www.YesFairElections.org for more info)

  8. I met Mike several years ago. Something never seemed quite right about him. He struck me as a salesman who only watched out for himself.

    Guess I was right.

    If we could only get honest people elected, stop the corruption, this country would get back on track.

  9. I just love it when you want to call out Honda’s Donors but nothing about Ro Khanna. It proves you’re on the list of Ro supporters. Yes I believe in the Clean Money Act and it should be passed. If you are going to call out one candidate, be fair and report on his opponent .

    • Um, Jill, this article is about donors that Honda has provided political favors in using his congressional office (and taxpayer funds). This is a follow-up article to a major House investigation going on into Honda’s campaign and office practices. There is no investigation going on about Khanna, his office (not elected yet), his campaign, his donors. I’m sure if there were ever an Office of Congressional Ethics or House Subcommittee investigation into Khanna, the reporter would write about that too.

      I realize you’re a rabid Honda supporter, but your frustration is misplaced at the reporter, at Khanna or anyone else. These illegal and unethical practices are Honda’s and Honda’s alone.

      • There are both assumptions and inaccuracies in what you are saying in response to this Jill Cheslser.

        The assumption that OP here is a “rabid Honda supporter” has no basis. In fact, the person seems to be calling for both sides to be examined equally.

        What the political favor you are referring to? There was no evidence of that found by OCE or by this new article. The people mentioned in this article have done real things in their business and civic life! They being are rightfully honored for that!

        There is no “subcommittee” being started by House Ethics. That’s a separate track that House Ethics did not go down. Larry Gerston was wrong and talking beyond his expertise when he said there were going to be hearings in all likelihood. There will not be.

        The most hilarious aspect of this whole story is how it shows the Khanna campaign incomptence. Obviously, it was known who the post office was named after before this story came out or ethics drama started. Therefore, they could have made the same point they are making now that the person who got the post office named after them was related to a person who donated later. Of course, this whole “only named a post office” line begs the question: how, as a Freshman in the minority, will Mr Khanna even get a post office named? No matter how many times Khanna waives his hands and says disruption, Paul Ryan will not care.

        Luckily this is all irrelevant because Honda is going to win in 2016. He has the better GOTV operation in South Bay Labor Counicil. The important Democrats have all endorsed Honda so they will keep his campaign afloat financially. Honda did not have a bad 3Q even after the OCE report went public. Finally, at some point, and this is already happening, those folks who really love Honda will feel that he is being singled out and donations will go up.

        Khanna used to call Honda mentor before Stark lost and his career goals turned him rabidly anti-Honda.

        It’s just so awful that Khanna takes pleasure and crows about how he is kicking a man when he thinks he is down.

        It’s hilarious because he is wrong in assuming Honda is down. He is putting his foot in his mouth when he thinks he is kicking Honda. He is going to lose.

        • Mr. Associates Only, seems like a nerve was struck here….let me try to respond as a CA-17 observer of the race.

          Eric Swalwell, while only ever in the minority, has gotten more bills passed in just his first term in Congress than Honda has in 15 years…and yes, one of those bills was naming a post office as well, however, he chose not to reward a donor. I guess he’s got higher ethics than Honda.

          You criticize Khanna’s campaign. I would say that given Honda went from 73% of the vote in 2012 to 51.8% in 2014 and Ro went from never 0% to 48.2%, that that’s pretty impressive of Khanna – going up against the powers that be, the entire establishment, starting from nothing. You can absolutely say Honda won, but the facts certainly don’t support your “incompetence” attacks on Khanna and his campaign.

          I have no idea of Khanna’s campaign and GOTV efforts this cycle, but he went toe-to-toe with Honda with all of their labor operation last time.

          In CA-17, the four most senior elected officials are Zoe Lofgren, Sam Liccardo, Jeff Rosen and Larry Stone. 3 of the 4 have endorsed Khanna, so how can you say “the important Democrats have all endorsed Honda”. Yes, mayors are important, and Honda’s got his and Khanna’s got his (there are, like 7 or 8 in the district), but I wouldn’t say “more” important than the four above. So, in this district, who are you referring to exactly if not those four?

          I won’t comment on your personal attacks on Khanna….that seems deep rooted and likely misplaced. Just remember, Honda was the one who was blasted by all the local media for his racist and pinocchio-type lies in his commercials and mailers. I would ask you to find one example of any of Khanna’s mailers or ads that any reputable/independent third party found baseless or inaccurate. I don’t recall any….

          You are obviously a huge supporter of Honda as well, but I personally find your attacks on Khanna without merit and fact. These ethics violations are Honda’s doing and noone else’s. If you’re upset, go yell at your friend and tell him to stop.

          • thanks for the dialogue.

            Where is the evidence that the post office was named to reward a Honda donor? The person has real accomplishments.

            By important I meant enough that will keep Honda financially viable. Would you rather have the minority leaders endorsement or the county assessors?

            With regards to competence, what I’d point to is the poll (available on this site) which suggests that before SJI broke the ethics story, the Khanna campaign was down by 23 points in July 2014.

            I don’t think it’s a personal attack to point out that during the time Khanna was calling Honda a mentor, these ethics violations were going on. There is absolutely no way that Honda is “everything that is wrong with politics.”

            It’s about what’s best for the district.

        • “Of course, this whole “only named a post office” line begs the question: how, as a Freshman in the minority, will Mr Khanna even get a post office named? No matter how many times Khanna waives his hands and says disruption, Paul Ryan will not care.” Associates only: perhaps you are unaware, or choose to ignore, the fact that this post office naming bill is the ONLY bill Mike Honda has had passed by the House in his FIFTEEN YEARS in Congress. That is the worst record of any sitting Congressperson; probably the worst in the history of the Congress. A chimpanzee could probably do as well as Mike Honda has done in that regard.
          “Luckily this is all irrelevant because Honda is going to win in 2016. He has the better GOTV operation in South Bay Labor Counicil.” Sadly you may be correct, thanks to Citizens United.

          • I think this is an interesting (but incomplete and misreading) fact. It’s used by republicans against Bera (in a swing district).

            As far as I can tell, this is based on the idea that the best (only) way to judge a representatives effectiveness is to see how many of the bill introduced by him or her become law.

            I’d point to the franked piece of mail as a more complete way to evaluate effectiveness. Take a look at Honda’s statement after Boehner retired – a legislative idea he had became part of a education policy passed by Boehner. There is also the point that he helps get others elected who are effective.

            It’s a team effort so credit is hard to pin down exactly but this “only named a post office” line is not persuasive (besides begging the question).

            I think it’s notable that all the major D Congressional leaders endorsed Honda this cycle – despite clearly seeing that Khanna can raise a lot (a truly epic amount, I must say) of money that one would think would interest any politician.

  10. Of course he is corrupt. He is a liberal democrat. As long as he uses the right words like “environmentalism” and “green energy” and “affordable health care” then people think he is great.
    A few thousand bucks here and there is nothing compared to the damage he has done.

    • > As long as he uses the right words like “environmentalism” and “green energy” and “affordable health care” then people think he is great.

      You missed the most important word of all:FAIRNESS!

      I’ll bet if you did a LexisNexis search on “Obama” and “fairness” (or Hillary and “fairness”) your computer would start smoking.

  11. Oh, my gosh golly. He got a post office named after Mrs. Chan’s husband. A post office! If that doesn’t stink to high heaven, I don’t know what does. And now he comes around guilt-tripping people about being stuck in an internment camp for, what? Like three years or something? Oh, wait — you guys aren’t covering that story, so your readers don’t know about it. Google it, folks. It might give you something to think about.

  12. Josh,
    What ever you decide to do on San Jose Inside, and it’s context, is fine. It is your site.
    I must tell you, your tactics, are similar to the Mercury News of the 50’s.
    When Jack Van Zandt was the editor,of San Jose Inside, he was very objective.
    You on the other hand, are very focused on your political farce. Your transparency is blinding.
    Thank You for using me as the example for change. Perhaps it’s time for you to move on, Josh !

  13. If every member of the House and Senate does the same thing as Congressman Honda is accused of doing and also being investigated for, it seems we the people do need to do a complete overhaul of our representatives as well as campaign finance reform. To read that people have maxed out donations to Honda’s campaign and then continue to contribute to his PAC is why change needs to be made. And if this abuse is happening with every member of the House and Senate, then they should all be called out just like Honda has been called out. At that rate, this story obviously could have been written in Anytown, USA. It just happens to have been written here in the 17th District and sheds more light on how our representatives work for “their” people.

    As to how Khanna as a Freshman in the minority could get things done, I look at Eric Swalwell in the 15th District. The guy has been in office since 2013 and how many bills did he successfully passed in 2014? Two – funnily enough one was the naming of a Post Office but the other was to benefit the Philippine community in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. He has also had some impressive committee assignments. It shows that a person no matter what their time in office has the ability to get things done.

    Finally, I don’t see anywhere in this article how Khanna has kicked Honda around. In fact, I’ve heard Khanna speak in public and point out Honda’s contributions to the community while Honda was in the same room and I’m not talking about the debate either. Say what you want, but Khanna is a class act and a lot of people know that too.

    • Saying – without any proof – that a person who was honored for their real life accomplishments was only given that honor because a relative gave money (which is clearly what the campaign spokesperson is saying) is putting your foot in your mouth while trying to kick another person.

      Seniority – by design so it’s structural not personal – is always going to be more effective. Put another way, the results highlighted in the piece of franked mail are better than the results Swalwell has delivered because seniority matters more than individual effort.

      • Associates Only wrote: “Seniority – by design so it’s structural not personal – is always going to be more effective. Put another way…” So then AO, how do you explain the fact that with fifteen years seniority Honda has had only one BS bill passed by his colleagues? Oh, I forgot, he also sang happy birthday for a donor on the House floor. That sure is important. I’m sure his karaoke career in CA 17 bars helped him a lot in that regard.

  14. 2 Trillion dollars plus, in offshore profits, and Ro wants to champion the Silicon Valley Corporations, in only paying a small fraction, of Corporate, taxes, due. Of course they love this guy, Ro !
    There are H1-Bs coming from India.
    Let’s see how this compares to Mike’s supporters. Larry Stone is the Tax Assesor, , Hell, I’d like to pay 5 % in taxes, like the Silicon Boys want to do..
    Why isn’t anyone talking about this, on this site.
    I am 74 years old, and only last month, I discovered that Governor Peter Burnett , and the Legislature tried to exterminate all the indigenous people, in this State. 5 Bucks a head. Pure insanity! Pure Insanity !
    The things they don’t teach you in 4th grade.

    • > I am 74 years old, and only last month, I discovered that Governor Peter Burnett , and the Legislature tried to exterminate all the indigenous people, in this State. 5 Bucks a head. Pure insanity! Pure Insanity !

      Blackie:

      He was a Democrat.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Hardeman_Burnett

      “Political party Independent Democrat”

      As I have mentioned before, “Democrats” and “progressives” embody the ethos of primitive tribalists.

      The tribalist ethos is: “my tribe good, other tribe bad”.

      There are abundant historical examples of the ruthlessness and blood thirstiness of “tribalists”.

      Woodrow Wilson, (dubbed “Archangel Woodrow” by the sharp tongued H. L. Mencken) was a notorious racist.

      PRIOR to World War II, prominent Democrat supporters wrote and talked openly about exterminating all Germans through sterilization.

      Japanese and Germans were referred to as “The Hun”.

      After World War II, U.S. reconstruction policies for Japan required that Japan embrace “population control” policies. U.S. aid to India and other “third world” societies were conditioned on those countries imposing “population control”.

      Margaret Sanger, the holy saint of Planned Parenthood, spoke to KKK groups and openly advocated creating a “race of thoroughbreds by reducing the population of blacks. And, surprise, the majority of Planned Parenthood abortions today are of black children.

      If you haven’t figured it out yet, “population control” is a Malthusian euphemism for “euthanasia”.

      Rachel Carson’s infamous “study” of pollution, “Silent Spring”, resulted in the unnecessary banning of DDT and the deaths of HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of people in Africa from malaria. Remarkably, the overwhelming number of persons who ceased to exist in Africa probably DIDN’T look like Peter Burnett, or Woodrow WIlson, or Margaret Sanger, or Barbara Boxer, or Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama’s mama. They probably DID look like Obama’s daddy.

      Yes, Blackie, your politicians have done some ugly and awful things.

      INCLUDING, maybe even, Mike Honda.

      MIke might be against interning Japanese Americans, but what does he think about genociding third world people in Africa and India?

    • VBS Gil Hernandez moaned: “The things they don’t teach you in 4th grade.” Well Gil, we here at SJI know what else they didn’t teach you, or that you didn’t learn: spelling, grammar, punctuation, and syntax. Apparently they also didn’t teach you that Mexicans killed as many Apaches and Navajos as the gringos did; nor did they teach you, or you refused to learn, that the Spanish, not the gringos, wiped out the Incas, the Mayans, and hundreds of thousands of other aboriginal peoples throughout Central and South America. Since you are leaving SJI, perhaps you’ll have time to go back to school and learn all that sh*t you missed.

      • JMO,
        I must have missed your comments, here. By the looks of your posts, I believe the Pino, has gotten the best of your senses! You sound like a well trained anthropologist, on cheap grapes!
        The Village Black Smith

  15. The fact that this guy has done little more during his lengthy term in Congress than get a post office in San Jose nicknamed after one of his top donors, is pathetic and outrageous. Pigs at the trough.

  16. Always comforting to find PG&E on these lists as a top donor, no wonder they get away with murder. Not to mention the public employee unions.

  17. Josh,Mike Honda has recently been endorsed for re-election by the mayors of Fremont,Newark,Santa Clara & Sunnyvale & will likely be re-elected despite your best effort to constantly smear him with these largely unsubstantiated innuendos from disgruntled former employees. It’s obviously no surprise that it was you who received the “anonymous letter”,what is surprising is that you found time to read it as busy as you must be passing out the flaming torches to try to drive our respected Congressman out of town ! That carpetbagger Ro Khanna was waiting for Pete Stark to retire,but when Eric Swalwell ambushed Stark – Khanna changed Congressional districts to try to unseat Honda instead. I have nothing but animosity for such a treacherous political neophyte trying to further his own political ambitions at the expense of our beloved Congressman & when Mike is re-elected hopefully we’ll never hear of or from Ro Khanna again. Unfortunately we’ll still have to put up with your never ending vendetta against Honda until you’re replaced with someone who doesn’t have such a big axe to grind. What I really want to know is what Mike Honda did to you personally ? Did he poison your cat,block your driveway or urinate in your shrubbery ? Please do tell,as I’m sure many inquiring minds want to know just exactly what your problem is !!!

    • I don’t think it’s a personal vendetta by Koehn. Instead, I think Honda’s folks stonewalled which looks evasive, then attacked, and then spent a half a year trying to win an unwinnable fight with OCE. They could have just owned it from the start, implemented the change in office policies, and moved on. Their counterproductive defensiveness is the root cause of these ethics issues still being around. Also, I mean, back in July 2015, their spokesperson had a meltdown where he personally attacked Koehn for doing his job (“despicable copy”).

      JK is doing what he is great at doing (digging like a journalist should).

      If I was Khanna, I’d consider getting out of the race. If he steps aside now, he’ll look statesman like and quit while he is ahead. He can come back after the Congresman retires and look like a dignified person who puts the party before himself.

      If he goes down this path of trying to win by calling Honda unethical he has to win. If he loses while spending a bunch of TV ad money on this ethics stuff he will never be able to run again. If he keeps doing this, he has to be 100% sure he can win. How can he be sure of that?

      • Mike Honda will not retire – he loves power and rewarding friends so much. If Mike were honorable he would simply retire and move on. It seems to me that he would rather be anywhere than actually representing San Jose in Congress – wasnt this supposed to be his last term? Silicon Valley needs to get beyond the Honda Era. If it is not Ro Khanna, let it be someone else, but why are you so eager to grasp onto the Honda Era. The investigations will end when Honda Retires, but he is too stubborn too so we have to endure more of this drama.

        • I think seniority matters more than who is more “energetic”. There is so much wasted motion in politics already so more effort is not the answer in my humble opinion

          • So stick with the status quo and incumbency in all circumstances? That is such a lazy way to vote. Also, what has his seniority gotten him other than being able to name a post office in a funder’s name? He is an embarassment to Silicon Valley

    • Mockery Boy: It’s ironic that you should use one of Josh’s favorite words to describe legitimate criticism—vendetta.

    • Mockery Boy wrote: “Unfortunately we’ll still have to put up with your never ending vendetta against Honda until you’re replaced with someone who doesn’t have such a big axe to grind.” It’s ironic that you should use one of Josh’s favorite words to describe legitimate criticism—vendetta.

  18. Mr. Associates Only, you crack me up. You think that KHANNA should step aside as he, at 39, would look like a “statesman”? And he should “quit” while he’s “ahead”? I’m pretty confident that his Dem/DTS/GOP supporters, after all of them being maligned as “right wing millionaires and billionaires” during his last campaign and pummeled further during Honda’s ill-advised victory speech (i.e., “crow”), would crucify Khanna if he didn’t go for it this race. Honda’s got a huge ethics scandal going on, Khanna’s outraised him, Khanna’s getting incredible endorsements, he’s growing his base of support…he needs just two more points in the next race. I would have bet on Khanna’s odds of winning, even before the ethics scandal hit. “Quitting” while one’s “ahead” are not very attractive characteristics in a leader….to me, that would look political and calculating rather than courageous. I would lose respect for Khanna if he withdrew.

    Honda, on the other hand, is 75, seriously starting to slow down and IMHO, should act like the statesmen and drop out. If he did, I can’t imagine the OCE or Subcommittee going forward with the investigation. Now THAT would certainly be best for the Party, his office and his constituents. This whole investigation is terribly embarrassing to everyone involved, all of his supporters and all of the constituents in CA-17. It certainly isn’t helping Nancy win back the House.

    In Honda’s victory speech, he said he was planning on living to 105 and wanted to keep his seat forever. Yes, I’m sure this was just Honda’s heated rhetoric, but still. Words matter. Emotions matter. Given what I saw on tv/youtube, I personally would never trust Honda if he ever said “just one more term”. Honda is the one who should do what’s best for the Party. He’s had a good career and is simply staying on because he loves the life of a Congressman – the drinks, the meals, the parties, the karaoke, everyone kissing his ring, etc. He hates Khanna not for any good reason, but purely for Khanna’s audacity to run against him. Well, when you say you plan to hang on to your seat until you die, what is Khanna to do? Wait 30 years? I’m glad Khanna ran. I’m glad he’s doing it again. These seats are not lifetime appointments!!!

    • I seem to have touched a nerve. Sorry to see your personal attacks at the end this recent post my passionate Internet interlocutor.

      You are right that if Honda left Congress the investigation would go away. Given that the Congresman has some of the best lawyers his campaign can buy and hasn’t dropped out has to tell you that maybe the investigation isn’t a slam dunk.

      You surely would not say Khanna is more than slight favorite (let’s even say Khanna is a 60% favorite)? He cannot run again if he loses while calling Democratic unethical, so there is a 40% or more chance that the poster named Frank Mockery will get what he wants and Khanna will never be heard from again after 2016. Why not consider that downside and step aside to come back later?

      Pelosi endorsed Honda so she seems to disagree with your assessment of what’s best for the party…

      • Since Pelosi and the entire Dem establishment endorsed Honda last year, an unknown Ro came within 3 points of election….now with increasing his level of involvement in the district and gaining numerous endorsements of his own to boot, as well as more Honda drama – you think he is an underdog and should step aside? Do you really believe that Honda would actually retire when he says he will after he has lied about it already? Do you really think Khanna wouldnt be a more active representative for the District than Honda? Honda has mailed it in the past 8 or so years – it has been sad to se, especially as someone who voted for him early on :(

      • Associates Only wrote: “Given that the Congresman has some of the best lawyers his campaign can buy…” Karaoke Mike probably figures: it worked for OJ so why not for me?

  19. I normally like the investigative work the Metro does, but I must admit that the Honda effort feels more like a vendetta than objective, fact based journalism. It started out this past year with conjecture and speculation based on a disgruntled ex-employee. It is a given, since Honda has admitted it, that his people mixed regular work with campaign or personal work. None of the missteps are monumental. They are relatively petty, in my opinion. This business about 1000 Cranes seems even more questionable in terms of your reporting. This headline states that “Honda took part in Pay to Play”. Yet when I read the specifics, here is all you come up with:

    1. First of all, it isn’t 1000 people on the list – it is only 281. So the guy who gives you this stuff, exaggerates and you repeat it the headline.

    2. CEO of Allied Telesis Oshima – supposedly in return for a contribution, Honda recognized Oshima’s birthday on the floor of Congress. This is pay-to-play? Getting a birthday greeting in public? Wow. Call out the troops.

    3.CEO of Marvell Semiconductors – this contributor (Sehat Sutardja) got a notation in a Honda press release “as a leading industry proponent of the bill” that puts more regulations on manufacturers. Just how is this pay-to-play? What benefit did Sutardja get from Honda? Did his company get any benefit from the bill. You don’t mention any, so I’m assuming that there was none. In fact, considering it was additional regulations, would seem to me that it might be just the opposite. I read the summary on the bill, and it seems pretty mundane, and pretty beneficial. It is about Energy Star and Smart Electronics in regards to energy saving devices.

    4. Anita Chan – a contributor whose late husband, Gordon Chan was a community activist in the area. Honda put forth a bill that became law in 2008 naming a post office after Mr. Chan. Two years later, his widow gives contribution to Honda. I wonder how many post offices and other buildings have been named in this country, and then an elected official gets a contribution. Pay-to-Play? Maybe technically, but we’re talking about naming a post office, not getting millions in tax cuts, special consideration on defense contracts, or big federal subsidies for major corporations. It’s the name of a post office!!!!!!!

    5. Vinod Khosla – a venture capitalist contributor to Honda, who then threw his support over to Ro Khanna. Then Honda supposedly slammed Khosla on his public access denials to Martin’s Beach. Honda hadn’t spoken up before. So? Yeh, sounds like politics to me, but what exactly did Honda do that is illegal or ethically wrong that other politicians haven’t all done all the time?

    None of these rise to the level of the kind of condemnation and accusations that you are heaping upon Honda. I am not a active supporter of Honda, nor have I ever given to his campaign. I have met Mike Honda twice. Once on a flight from San Jose to LA. He was in coach with the rest of us. I live in Campbell, and he was my congressman at the time. I said hello and we had a brief conversation. I also met him at his office in 2008 when he was announcing winners of his contest for free tickets to Obama’s inauguration. I won two for my sons who were both working in D.C. at the time as public interest attorneys. Honda is the most down to earth politician I have ever met. And I suspect, one of the most honest.

    Alan Zisser
    Campbell CA

  20. The goal was 1,000, but they only reached 281.

    I don’t believe that it’s a vendetta. The Metro does stories like this all the time. There are not big teapot dome style scandals in American politics.

    Shirawaka was done in, in part, by a campaign mailer that probably did not even move the needle in the election it was trying to influence. SJI focuses on turnover in a state assembly office (Campos). I doubt many in Campos’ district even know she represents them or cares about what happens in their staff.

    Instead, denying it while being so self righteous that Honda is not a typical politician makes these things seem more significant. Also, it’s pretty forgiving to say “as long as it’s not illegal or unethical, it’s fine by me.”

    You’ve got to be admit that the ex-employee was probably right on the mixing of campaign and official.
    It was significant to warrant a six month investigation from the Congressional watchdog (who surely is not controlled by Metro or anyone else).

    It’s not like Honda came clean willingly. He denied and still continues to deny it. He personally attacked not only the initial whisteblower, but the other former staffer who backed up the allegations. He paid a bunch of lawyers and one of the best PR firm’s in this area to lose to an ex-employee who has been dismissed as disgruntled because Josh Richman wrote a hatchet piece without doing his homework (after Honda fed him a discredited police report).

    I’m pretty shocked that Honda set that standard that what people say in private matters. If you’ve been on the recieving end of one of Honda’s drunken rants you know that his public appearance is an act (and not a very convincing one).

  21. With folks like Mike Honda’ in Congress is why the approval rating of Congress is in the teens. Even President Obama has a higher rating than Congress.

    The voters need to put Mike Honda’ out to pasture.

    It’s a crying shame that the American public can’t revoke Mike Honda’ retirement pay.