Khanna Calls Rep. Honda Lawsuit ‘Political Gamesmanship’

Ro Khanna dismissed allegations that his campaign manager stole proprietary donor info from his opponent, Congressman Mike Honda (D-San Jose), as political gamesmanship.

In an answer to a federal lawsuit filed by Honda’s re-election campaign, Khanna accused the incumbent of perjury. Khanna also called the legal volley an attempt to distract voters from an ethics investigation focused on an alleged pay-to-play scheme between Honda’s congressional staff and his most generous donors.

“In a clumsy attempt at an ‘October Surprise’ (as well as to district voters from its own ethical lapses), Honda makes flimsy accusations that it was grievously injured …” Khanna’s attorneys state in a motion for continuance to a later date.

In Honda’s first public statement since suing his challenger, he likens Khanna to a Russian hacker.

“Like all Americans, I take internet privacy very seriously,” Honda wrote in a prepared statement. “When I first learned that Mr. Khanna and his campaign manager had illegally accessed my confidential documents, I was shocked. What's worse is that Mr. Khanna refuses to take responsibility for his actions or acknowledge any wrongdoing. Mr. Khanna claims to be the voice of ‘new politics’ but this recent incident highlights that he and his campaign embody the absolute worst of Washington—lies, deceit, and conduct we would expect from radical Republicans or Russian hackers but not from someone who calls himself a Democrat.”

Honda’s lawsuit, which he filed last week in a San Jose federal court, claims that Khanna’s campaign chief, Brian Parvizshahi, illegally accessed computer files packed with private information about people who donated to the incumbent. The suit centers on Parvizshahi, who resigned the day the lawsuit became public.

According to the suit, Parvishahi interned at Arum Group—a Democratic consulting firm that helped Honda with fundraising—for a month in 2012. When he quit, however, no one at the organization revoked his access to Dropbox accounts linked to lists of donor names, emails and phone numbers.

Nearly two years later, Honda’s camp ended its contract with Arum Group and Parvizshahi began working for Khanna’s campaign to oust Honda from Silicon Valley’s 17th Congressional District. After switching to team Khanna in January 2014, Parvizshahi allegedly kept logging into the Dropbox file with Honda’s donor info.

Parvizshahi allegedly accessed those files 44 times before the breach was discovered this past spring. The lawsuit accuses him of violating federal anti-hacking laws.

Khanna said that Honda offered no evidence that he “suffered irreparable harm” and “embarrassment” from having a challenger’s campaign solicit support from his donors, some of whom Khanna says he had been in contact with years prior to the alleged hacking.

“[The] Honda [campaign] admits that it learned all of the purported bases for its allegations by May 2016,” Khanna’s motion states. “It chose to remain silent for four months. It did not even contact the Khanna campaign to request an investigation or otherwise raise the issue. Only now, as Honda is facing defeat in the general election did the Honda campaign file this suit.”

A day before the complaint was filed, a Politico report noted that Honda had compared his year-long ethics probe to “a teacher parking in another teacher's parking spot that didn’t belong to her or him. There’s rules about that ... that’s the level of infractions.”

To read Khanna’s answer to the complaint, click here.

23 Comments

  1. Wait how hard is it for Ro to get…. that it was his campaign manager who worked for the same firm that did some fundraising for Congressman Honda. AND that it was his campaign manager who kept using the password that he was provided at that firm for a Dropbox account that hosts various confidential fundraising lists and documents of Congressman Honda.

    Ro Khanna’s biggest concern shouldn’t be about his political spin about the two civil lawsuits filed against him and his campaign, but rather the possibility of criminal charges against him and his former campaign manager, Mr. Brian Parvizshahi.

    • It this was truly a criminal case, don’t you think the Honda team would’ve turned all over their evidence over to the authorities back in May? If they in fact had a case, criminal charges would’ve come long before a lawsuit. This is a lame political stunt. Nothing more and nothing less.

      • And as to damages … looking at my email Inbox, I guess I “suffer irreparable harm” about 100 times a day during this election season. No Hillary I don’t want to go out on a date! Just take my money and leave me alone!

    • Two points: (a) there is no credible indication in the reports that knowledge of this went beyond the campaign manager, Brian P. and (b) when these allegations became public there was swift action in the Khanna campaign: Brian resigned.

      This is in extreme contrast to Honda, who dismisses the basis of the House Ethics finding that there was “substantial reason to believe” wrongdoing occurred with the flippant comment that “this is like a teacher parking in another teacher’s spot.” A parking violation that cost over $300k in legal/PR fees to defend …

      • “there is no credible indication in the reports that knowledge of this went beyond the campaign manager, Brian P.”

        Please pretty please someone get Khanna to say this in a deposition.

        • I can’t believe Tom said that, he has personal knowledge of Ro Khanna using software on his personal email system to add hundreds of people without their permission to his campaign system. Despite Tom’s and Brian’s assurances we were never removed.

          As an officer of the Santa Clara County Dem Club, Tom took the lead on fixing the problem. Yet he never informed the full membership of Ro’s transgression, nor did he ever check to confirm if Brian actually removed us from the system. Tom failed to protect the members of the club as promised and should resign as a club officer.

          And regarding Ro’s motion, which was denied by the judge, he claimed to “creating a new email list from sources it can immediately verify.” Yet the evening after Ro filed the motion people were still receiving emails from his campaign. And I also believe his inclusion in the countersuit of a MoveOn petition created by me and my wife was an effort to discredit and/or intimidate us. He knows very well that we do not work for the Honda campaign, we’ve never worked for any campaign or political organization, we are private citizens volunteers.

          The Honda campaign’s lawsuit only covered actionable items for which they had standing. I am working to put together the stories of others who have been contacted by Khanna using his personal email and facebook accounts. This story is bigger and creepier than people know.

          • I don’t think – not to undermine – that the inclusion of that petition was intimidation. The firm representing Khanna is a big firm and this is a relatively small client. Probably just sloppy.

          • Glenn, that’s just silly and you know it. And classy to put this in a post instead of emailing me if you had any club concerns. Your characterizations are unfounded.

            1) Apples: When I said above “there is no credible indication in the reports that knowledge of this went beyond the campaign manager, Brian P.,” you know that what I am referring to is the Dropbox access that is the subject of that lawsuit.

            2) Oranges: As an SCCDC board officer, I attempted to help you sort out a SEPARATE issue earlier this year (with four other SCCDC officers fully in the loop), to confirm that Khanna did NOT intentionally use the club’s membership list to send out campaign emails. We confirmed to your satisfaction that he did not.

            However, as you know, Khanna’s campaign explained (in March) that Khanna’s personal GMAIL account automatically puts all recipients of emails from him into his contacts list and then his personal contacts list in turn automatically gets run through a program and is put on the campaign email list. Candidates try to solicit support from those who they are in personal contact with … big surprise.

            So when Khanna “Replied to All” to a PUBLIC email blast (the club’s Treasurer mistakenly did not Blind CC the members) this automatic process unintentionally resulted in some club members getting campaign emails. The club followed up with the Khanna campaign and was assured that the campaign promptly went through the club Treasurer’s (public) email recipients’ list and removed from the campaign email list anyone who was not a known Khanna supporter. Brian told me this was done (to say that I never “checked to confirm if Brian actually removed us from the system” is a misstatement of fact). So there should have been no subsequent unwanted campaign emails to members. I have no indication that these people were not removed.

            The last I heard from you was March 4, and you never gave any indication since then that there were any continuing issues or requests to follow up again. You apparently think that I have magical powers to “confirm” what goes on in a campaign database system, when I am not a campaign staffer. I diligently followed up on your request, and to my knowledge it was quickly resolved seven months ago.

            Again, great attempt at character assassination.

            PS: Here’s a tip: we all get plenty of emails from campaigns and causes, and the solution is to just hit “unsubscribe” at the bottom of the email if someone doesn’t want any more.

          • Tom, can’t find a reply button to your comment.

            Don’t agree with many of your points but will say…it was wrong of me to include you. I apologize. Brian gave his word but didn’t follow through. Not your or the club’s fault.

          • Glen, thanks for calling off the fatwa on the club and I. It’s kind of a big deal to accuse somebody of failing in their fiduciary duties and asking them to resign, but I accept your apology and thank you for it, because we have mutual friends and progressive values so I anticipate that there are plenty of things that we will be working on together in the future, after the Honda-Khanna battle. Let’s not “destroy the village to save it” (e.g., personal attacks on volunteers) before November 8. Maybe both sides need to be reminded of that. I will personally try to follow Michelle Obama’s admonition: “When they go low, we go high.”

            One follow-up up question: what do you mean by “Brian gave his word but didn’t follow through.” You mean on the SCCDC situation? In my March 3 email to you, I specifically said, “I do understand your concern, so please let me know if they [emails from the Khanna campaign] don’t stop.” I never heard from you after that, so assumed there were no issues. Please advise. Thanks in advance.

  2. Mike Honda is desperate and has become a complete joke. Even if some of these allegations are true (which I don’t believe they are), why not sue the Arum Group for negligence while he’s at it? How stupid are they for not revoking a former intern’s Dropbox credentials after accepting his resignation? It’s their own fault if a breach did in fact occur. Honda is going to lose very badly in November and he will go down with zero dignity and a tarnished legacy. Pretty sad, but Silicon Valley will be so much better off. What a joke.

  3. Rohit is a three time loser in his bid to become a Congressman,but his ego & ambition apparently blur the writing on the wall ! First he lost his bid to unseat Democrat Tom Lantos in 2004 in the 12th Congressional District. Then he raised $1.2 million in an unsuccessful attempt to unseat another Democrat liberal firebrand Pete Stark in the 15th Congressional District in 2012. When Dublin City Councilman Eric Swalwell ruined his plans to oust Stark he decided to target another fellow Democrat a little further south. So undeterred by his mounting failures he mounted another losing campaign by once again attempting to unseat another incumbent Democratic Congressman Mike Honda in 2014 in the 17th Congressional District. The very definition of a carpetbagger he changes his place of residency as often as he changes his shorts & since you don’t have to live in the Congressional District you represent (just reside in the same state) who knows what sitting Democrat he’ll target when he loses his latest bid ? Bankrolled by Silicon Valley GOP billionaires he’s positioned himself as a more conservative pro-business candidate seeking the support of the repugnant angry white Republican voters to vilify & replace another liberal Democrat ! Why he thinks Congress is a great place for an inexperienced political neophyte to learn on job escapes me,but given his record he probably couldn’t get elected to the PTA at this point if he ran unopposed. Let this elitist Yale graduate & Stanford instructor know that ambushing Democratic incumbents time & time again infuriates his fellow Democrats & disqualifies him for the very office he seeks by repudiating him once again on Election Day !

    Liberal Mike Honda has garnered over 70% of the vote against his Republican opposition for years & the only chance Rohit has to unseat him is to curry favor with Trump supporting Republican voters who despise our beloved Congressman. Mike Honda has years of experience & tenure bringing home the bacon for his constituents,whereas Rohit has absolutely no Congressional experience,has done nothing for the people of the 17th District & as a freshman would have no tenure whatsoever.

    Why would conscientious Democrats allow the angry marginalized Republican minority (“Make America Great Again”) to determine who should represent the overwhelming majority of progressive voters in the 17th Congressional District ? Why indeed ?!? Why would any self-respecting Democrat join with the party of bigotry,racism,misogyny & hatred to support an unqualified loser (in debt to the GOP for their support) in an effort to unseat a sitting Congressman from their own party ? The simple answer is they wouldn’t & that’s why I’m asking my fellow Democratic voters to make the only intelligent & logical decision on November 8th by re-electing our Congressman MIKE HONDA once again in 2016 !!!

    • LOL! This is one of the most insane and widely inaccurate rants that I’ve read in some time. I will just make one point. Khanna doesn’t need the Republican vote to beat Honda like you suggest. Khanna beat Honda in the June primary by more than 2,000 votes with 2 Republicans and a Libertarian also on the ballot. He won almost every single Democratic group that turned out. And now because the Republicans hate Honda like you also suggest, Khanna is going to win by an even larger margin in November. It won’t even be close and Honda knows it! Get yer popcorn ready!!

      • An intelligent candidate after losing three efforts to become a Congressman would embrace the old baseball adage “three strikes & you’re out”,concede that the voters dislike him & quit running. Apparently baseball isn’t Rohit’s forte,although judging by his past political escapades politics isn’t his forte either. This is his is second effort to unseat a fellow Democrat here & the second campaign that he & his co-conspirators have been accused of using illegal & underhanded tactics in an attempt to undermine the political process by any means necessary. He disparages Congressman Honda’s ethics & integrity daily in his smear campaign to mislead the voters,while his own ethics & integrity are even more egregious & unethical. It should come as no surprise that he’s been caught once again doing the same sort of things that he constantly berates his opponent for doing,as he obviously learns nothing from his own mistakes. By blaming his subordinates for his own poor judgment & reprehensible behavior rather than shoulder the blame himself is certainly the ultimate in hypocrisy given his attacks on Congressman Honda for the conduct of his staffers. Congressman Honda’s ethics were never an issue until a disgruntled former employee & duplicitous Khanna supporter denigrated him in an attempt to vilify his character in 2014. If Rohit’s appalling conduct during his latest efforts to foist himself upon the good people of the 17th Congressional District is any indication of his character & judgment,he’s certainly got a lot of gall to lambaste his opponent’s peccadilloes. To use a metaphor that Rohit is undoubtedly more familiar with it would appear that he’s the one in the “sticky wicket” now & while he can point fingers at those he hired to do his dirty work,he must ultimately take the responsibility for the continued malfeasance of his own campaign !!!

    • Frank:

      Thanks to Charlie Munger, this may be the first time I’ll be forced to vote for a Democrat.

      I’m new at this. Isn’t someone supposed to promise me a perk or something?

      I think I would like an ambassadorship.

      • >>Isn’t someone supposed to promise me a perk or something?

        Nope, they just give you a lot of free stuff.

        Like for example:

        1. I get to keep driving on public roads
        2. I get to keep drinking municipal water from the tap
        3. But no, I don’t have to pay any taxes

        Oh wait, you have to vote Republican to get that mix. Sorry, got confused.

  4. This congressional race has turned ugly thanks to our Rep. Mike Honda. Silicon Valley deserves a representative who has vision and ideas to move us forward. Since Honda lacks both and because he lost the primary he is resorting to mudslinging five weeks before the election. I attended couple of forums hosted by him this past summer and it was evident how he was totally out of touch and struggled to articulate any good response to the questions posed by the constituents.
    Even if we over look his incompetence we cannot take his and his staff’s conduct lightly. Bipartisan committee has found that there is substantial evidence to investigate him further. He has spent nearly $300k in legal expenses in the last year. People are tired of dirty politics and politicians and they sent a clear message in primary that they are ready to give Honda the boot and welcome Khanna. As one last ditch effort he has filed this frivolous law suit against Khanna.
    From the motion filed by Khanna, it’s come to light that in his desperation Honda has submitted false sworn testimonies. I have hear rumors that Honda is being investigated and might be criminally charged. The latest perjury will not help his case for leniency. Personally, I think a criminal charge may be excessive. I have always liked Mike, and am sad at how he is ending his career and the charges he may soon face.

    • That’s your opinion & you know what they say about opinions ? They’re like “***holes,because everybody has one”,although it would appear that Rohit has a cadre of them supporting his odoriforous campaign !

  5. Both sides are being…”political” (it’s politics so that is to be expected).

    Perjury is a big claim, if you have the goods deliver it rather than just hint at it.

    Khanna folks filed a politically motivated and timed complaint last cycle to the OCE (why not wait till after the election, try to get votes on the merits, and run on your message?) as a “clumsy October Suprise.” One of their arguments seems to be “sure, my CM did it, but Honda’s under House Ethics investigation so that means…something..” Does anyone think that Khanna supporters actullay care about the House Ethics allegations? If Khanna loses in Novemeber, will they still be expressing faux outrage while messing up the facts?

    The open question is whether Khanna knew. Honda’s complaint involves an email ID that Mr. Khanna uses in his own attorney profile for the State Bar. You can fire your campaign manager, but if there is a smoking a gun it’ll come out.

    Besides being the predictable corporate lawyer move, the only thing firing the CM proves is that Khanna will buckle to the slightest bit of pressure if elected? The small ball county supervisor moves Honda makes aren’t nothing compared to what K Street does for fun.

    • Deliver the goods? Obviously you are still in the dark. Honda submitted affidavit (sworn testimony) from six individuals that they never knew Khanna and was accosted and harassed by him. Turns out one had solicited Khanna for a job, two for money and one had extensive email exchange. All of the evidence has been presented to the court. It’s public information, you can get it. Here is the portion of it, ” of the six declarants who state that they allegedly do not know how Mr. Khanna had their email addresses, at least one sought Mr. Khanna’s help in finding an internship (Gowani), two others actually solicited Mr. Khanna and/or his campaign for money (Minami through his Asian Law Caucus and Hasegawa), while another engaged in a lengthy discussion with Mr. Khanna, concluding it by admitting he would be a “promising” candidate for election”.
      This is committing perjury.

      • If that’s the argument, Honda is just fine in terms of liability. Tom will let you know that if you don’t believe me (he’s an attorney isn’t he?).

        I did notice from the Honda complaint that Dutta referred to Khanna as “Congressmember Khanna” – that’ll make you happy I’m sure and gives House Ethics jurisdiction over him in 2017 so that should be lots of fun if there is a smoking gun.

        • Associates Only (no partners allowed?): Will have to get back to you later today; had to deal with a brief outbreak of attempted character assassination (above). I hope you do the right thing and work through lunch!