Records Show Rep. Honda Has Wealthy Supporters of GOP, Too

Voters don’t always have time to pay attention, so they could be forgiven for assuming Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) is in the fight of his life against the California equivalent of Ted Cruz.

In his eighth term, Honda finds himself embroiled in a House ethics scandal for allegedly misusing official resources for campaign purposes. To deflect attention from this issue, he has gone on the offensive, consistently labeling his chief opponent, Ro Khanna, a puppet of “right wing millionaires and billionaires.”

Never mind that they’re both running as Democrats, or that many of the people who threw gobs of cash at Khanna in 2014, as well as this year’s race, lean to the left.

Candidates, and the political action committees (PACs) that support them, take money from just about anyone and everyone. So, when someone as loathsome as former Enron exec John Arnold, who claims to be a Democrat, throws $250,000 to a PAC supporting Khanna, it’s worth noting that Honda would accept—and has accepted—financial support from anyone who gets him that much closer to the finish line.

Just last week, when Honda’s new legal defense fund—created to pay legal bills for his ethics investigation—disclosed its first quarterly report, a measly $1,750 was all the congressman had raised. His accountants, ever wise to timing their own bills, know that the next reporting deadline doesn’t arrive until after the June 7 primary election, so drawing more attention to the $200,000-plus Honda has already spent on the scandal would be counter-productive. The congressman is now free to raise money without worrying his donors.

When the Mercury News asked Honda’s people how much the legal defense fund has raised since the last reporting period, spokesman Vedant Patel changed the conversation (emphasis added):

“Ro Khanna consistently tries to score cheap political points and smear the reputation of a well respected progressive champion while filling his campaign coffers with money from right wing millionaires and billionaires who want to dismantle social security, outsource good paying middle class jobs, and don’t have the best interest of Silicon Valley’s middle class families at heart.”

A closer inspection of the congressman’s campaign donors, however, suggests Honda’s own wealthy supporters aren’t exactly shy in showing the right some love.

Records filed with the Federal Elections Commission for the last five years show that Honda received at least $115,000 from millionaires and billionaires and who also support GOP and Tea Party candidates.

William Lauder, former CEO of The Estee Lauder Companies, has given Honda two contributions of $2,000 or more in the last two years, while at the same time giving cash to four conservative congressmen. In 2012, Lauder raised $30,800 for the Republican National Committee and $5,000 for Mitt Romney’s presidential run.

Before Stephen Curry ate what was left of Paul Allen’s soul, the Portland Trailblazers owner and Microsoft co-founder gave two contributions to Honda over a 16-month period. Since that time Allen has also supported three Republican senators.

Rocklin-based developer Martin Harmon, who routinely gets down with the Tea Party, supported Honda with a $1,200 contribution in September of last year.

East Bay investor Dennis Albers, tabbed to be a donor in Honda’s notorious “1000 Cranes” fundraising project, has given Honda $1,000 on three occasions since 2011, the most recent contribution coming last June. Albers also gave money to conservatives Rob Portman, Lisa Murkowski, Mike Lee, Joni Ernst, Eric Cantor and former House Speaker John Boehner.

Additional “cranes” who’ve given to the right include Bill Imada, Sukhan Kim and Ngai Nguyen. All three gave thousands to Honda while supporting GOP candidates.

Hong Myung-ki actually gave Honda $2,700 on Oct. 13, 2015—the same day he gave money to the RNC.

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Honda’s campaign manager, Michael Beckendorf, did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Khanna spokesman Hari Sevugan said the reports indicate a double standard:

“If Congressman Honda’s attacks on Ro are to be believed, these donations prove that Mike Honda is nothing but a crypto-Republican, corporate shill. But, of course, that's not true, just as it wasn't true when Honda used the same evidence to launch those attacks against Ro. What it does show, however, is far more revealing.

“It demonstrates Congressman Honda’s willingness to do and say anything to stay in power, no matter how brazenly hypocritical. It demonstrates Congressman Honda's preference for demonizing instead of coalition building; his preference for name calling instead of problem solving.”

So, to summarize, what we have here is a race between two Democrats who will take money/support just about wherever they can get it. They differ on a couple key issues: the economy, charter vs. traditional public schools.

One of them is involved in an ethics scandal.

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.


  1. He is an idiot but the other idiot voters keep voting him in. Wake up voters and you wonder why we get idiots raising our taxes and make bad decisions because they sit on the asses and fill their pockets with pensions for doing nothing.

    I got to use 3 idiots in one post, wake up Bay Area.

  2. It’s interesting to note that people who actually know Mike Honda respect and love him because they know that he’s a good human being who is interested in doing what’s right *because it’s the right thing to do,* as opposed to people like Ro Khanna whose overweening ambition and lust for power guides his every move. Whoever wrote this hit piece under the guise of “news” needs to find a job at Faux Newz. He’ll fit right in.

  3. $115,000 over five years? Ro Khanna has raised $501,750 from right-wing donors, just this election cycle. These 130 donors have given over $11 million to Republicans and the GOP. Some are connected to the Koch Brothers, the Bushes, Karl Rove, etc… A handful of them alone have spent many 10’s of millions defeating pre-k education and attacking public education in CA.

    As for the ethics investigation, go listen to Steven Tavares’s exclusive interview with the whistleblower. It is not what SJI and Khanna want you to believe. “issues resolved” “Honda is not unethical”

  4. Your article missed the most important point. Mr. Khanna repeatedly tells us he takes “no money from special interests.” Mr. Honda makes no such claim. The sinner in this is Mr. Khanna trying to claim an image as someone purer than the law requires. That false claim should be the focus of your story. NOT an attempt to say Mr. Honda takes money from special interests. Honda does not deny it. Yes, I agree, the issue of both of them taking money from Republicans is a fair point on your part. Sadly, the Republicans have given up on a Republican candidate in the 17th District, and so are trying to position themselves, pragmatically, with the last Democrat standing.

    But again, I think this article should focus on the false purity of Mr. Khanna with regards to “special interests” and not be an attempt say they are both just as bad. Honda has more integrity on this issue.

    Now, separately, as to the ethics investigation, that is indeed a whole different level of concern that lands solely on Mr. Honda.


    Ron Cohen Republican Candidate 17th Congressional District.

  5. Honda has done nothing whatsoever to stem the mowing over of unexcusaby poverty ridden minorities, or anyone over 35 years old – either born, or worked in for decades – in Silicon Valley (likely because of the horrid Silicon Valley Mentality that anyone over 35 is over the hill (except, of course, the Rentiers; Sandhill VC ‘Angels’; and the aging Google, Facebook, etcetera, Founders™); despite the fact that he’s older than most of them. Nor has Honda addressed the mowing over of anyone young who does not aspire to making millions off of a Sand Hill VC funded app for those who desire servants and robots for whatever whim.

    Neither has Ro Khanna addressed those issues. And can Ro Khanna respond to why there are far far more male only H-1B workers from India, than US born (of North American, African, Asian and European descent) equally (at a minimum) qualified females working in the tech industry? ) .

    I suspect both of them of may be picking up support and back door profiteering off of theUS State Department’s Visa Industry (The average person would be stunned as to just what an industry it is, many (most?) times favoring wanna be despots – not those in need with good intent) .

    Certainly not that an elite handful of white folks aren’t doing it, to obscene profit, but neither Honda or Khanna are white (and both would never have been considered if they were African American (which population stands at an average of around 2.1% in Silicon Valley, as opposed to a Nationwide average of 13 plus percent; a deliberate ‘feature,’ not a ‘bug,’ in the widely proclaimed Meritocratic!/Progressive!/Tolerant!™ Silicon Valley! ™).

    I won’t be voting for either of them. Anyone wants to get my face about that should have been outraged at the Silicon Valley likes of Meg Whitman/Ebay/HP, for just one example, who never even bothered to register to vote till how many months before she ran for office? Clearly, she, with her creepy husband, was aware all along that voting is a steam vent for the oppressed to think they have a choice in who decides their economic fate.

    • DIANE:

      You are an unhappy person.

      It is hard to visualize ANY place on planet earth where you WOULD be happy.

      If there IS such a place, I’m sure there are many people willing to help you get there.

      • I agree, Diane comes across as a very unhappy person, not to mention a racist. Worse, she has no proposed solutions. I, however, do:

        From the article:

        In his eighth term, Honda…

        That says it all, folks. To tell the truth, I don’t like either one of them. But I’m pragmatic, so I vote my pocketbook.

        Honda will begin his 9th term if he’s re-elected. He will have quite a bit more seniority than the average Congressman. Seniority means money for his District.

        Voters here don’t seem to understand how important seniority is. In Congress, seniority gets you committee and subcommittee chairmanships, which enable the Congressman to funnel lots of money into his District. Every successful re-election means more money for Honda’s District.

        But if Khanna gets elected, he will be a freshman Congressman, with no seniority. It will take him close to twenty years to get the seniority that Honda has right now. That’s nearly twenty years of watching our tax money go from our pockets into other Districts, and other States.

        Seniority may not be a good system. But it will not be changed, simply because those with seniority have the most power. That also allows them to direct the most money into their constituents’ District.

        I’m neutral, as I said — I don’t like either Honda or Khanna. But I’m not a fool. I’m voting for the guy who can bring home the bacon. And it sure isn’t Ro Khanna.

        • “In Congress, seniority gets you committee and subcommittee chairmanships..” True, but Karaoke Mike” has never been given a chairmanship. That shows you exactly what the leadership thinks of his qualifications.
          ” I’m voting for the guy who can bring home the bacon. And it sure isn’t Ro Khanna.” It’s millions of voters like you who explain why Congress has the lowest positive rating ever, yet people keep re-electing THEIR Congressperson.

  6. Re Meg Whitman (and her Carley Fiorina (hooked up via her daddy) comrade in crime): not that Meg is any worse (though certainly not any better) than [adult] life long Demorat Public Servants/Registered Voters!™ Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, Jackie Speier, Barbara Boxer, Anna Eshoo, Zoe Lofgren, etcetera; whom I, once upon a time, voted for.

    PS. Dear Smokey, I’d watch that abundant bacon diet if I were you, they say it isn’t good for the heart. As to you, sjoutsidethebubble, you’re clearly the most bitter and mean person on this site, never one to miss attacking any attempts at keeping at least a roof over people’s heads.

  7. Considering the source of these innumerable insipid & biased attacks on our beloved Congressman Mike Honda,this just appears to be the latest shameful example of the scurrilous “joshing” we’ve come to expect from the fine people at San Jose Inside ! I get the impression that one of the carpetbagger Ro Khanna’s biggest proponents & cheerleaders is an all too familiar political sandbagger with a byline & an obvious agenda of his own !! The ability to write the word integrity in no way implies that the writer has any integrity themselves & despite the repeated attempts by this publication to discredit him,I’ll be voting for Mike Honda again on June 7th & November 8th !!!

  8. I love that Honda’s campaign manager, Michael Beckendorf, or his communications director, Verdant Patel, didn’t respond for comment. How could they? Their entire line of attack has now been disproven. They know they were caught. They know they look stupid. What could they possibly say to change the facts as presented.

    I’ve honestly never understood these attacks in the first place – hitting a Dem candidate based on an individual contribution to a GOP candidate by one of his donors. Personally, I find this whole “guilt by association” angle idiotic. However, not surprisingly when Koehn did the same analysis on Honda, he found that Honda has his own set of GOP donors. It was a stupid argument before, it remains a stupid argument now. The only thing that’s been proven is how unbelievably hypocritical, unethical and desperate Honda and his team have been acting. I’m glad that someone did the homework here. Thank you. Now, let’s get back to the issues and who would be a better candidate to represent Silicon Valley going forward. For me, that’s Ro Khanna.

  9. Mike Honda should talk he has been in the pockets of the most controversial foreign lobby groups, the Gulen Islamic movement. Honda was even the spokes person at their shindig in DC last month in fact, Honda is one of the members of Congress mentioned in the House Ethics committee of taking trips to Turkey and Azerbaijan (where this group comes from) they are also under investigation by federal and state authorities for abusing government grants related to the charter schools they operate in the USA – Mr. Honda has been a major disappointment to Americans, he is supporting a group that practically destroyed democracy in Turkey and is now in a bitter battle with their one time ally turned enemy President Erdogan. This group Mike Honda is associated with makes the mafia look like choir boys. Here is hoping Mike Honda retires. The amount of charter school fraud the Gulen Movement has done about the American taxpayers is criminal.

    • Tom if most Americans knew who you were you’d likely be a disappointment to most Americans (not to mention your long suffering family) too ! While our Congressman Honda on the other hand has served his progressive constituents competently in Washington & has been re-elected many times ! The majority of his constituents still support him now & the Republicans here never could find a viable challenger who could muster over 30% of the vote. There’s so few marginalized right-wing Republicans left here that they don’t really bother to put up a fight anymore,because it’s become so futile ! Ro Khanna can’t win without these Republican voters whose preferred candidates Honda has easily dispatched every time he’s run for re-election. GOP candidate Ron Cohen stands no chance to advance to the General Election ballot,so they’ll vote for Ro instead because he’s positioned himself to the right of the more liberal Honda. I like my Congressman liberal & my steaks medium-rare,so if the GOP throws their support behind any candidate they’re unequivocally dead meat to me ! Further every Republican in elected office for the last forty years has been a major disappointment to me (& many Americans) & I suggest that you certainly don’t represent the average voter in Silicon Valley. You sound more like a cuckolded conservative conspiracy crackpot & FOX News fan,a danger to yourself,your neighbors & our entire community. Turkey ? Really ? Armenian genocide anyone ? How about some divine retribution Tom ? That fascist madman Erdogan is lower than a soiled lap puppet & I for one hope the Kurdish minority there eliminates him soon !! If Turkey was a living room set I’d spill my beer on the coffee table,put my dirty shoes on the sofa & take a dump on their Ottoman Empire. I forget which comedian said it,but he said that Canada should quickly invade & conquer Turkey (because no one would see it coming) & change their name to Chicken ! How appropriate ! Turks,who needs them ? Hell,I don’t even like their Turkish Taffy !!! (Note: Turkish Taffy is actually neither Turkish or taffy)

      • If Honda was competent he would get a meaningful bill passed, the only bill he has ever passed was to rename a post office after one of his campaign donors. He has only been reelected so many times because of his incumbent advantage.

  10. What a slug this guy is, legislators like him are part of the problem and definitely not part of the solution. He should change his name to Edsel, instead of Honda…..what a loser.

    • Slug ? Well now we finally have the definitive description of our Congressman from an old geezer who is so senile that he lives in a fantasy world of toy trains & preschool children’s cartoons ! Great videos on Google+ by the way,so how often do the grandkids stop by to change your diaper & dust you off ? How is it that you haven’t been abandoned in a convalescent home by now,too expensive ? You should change your name from Robert to Maxwell because you’re as old as one,every bit as obsolete & should have been scrapped years ago ! Try dialing back the medication a notch there Pops because you haven’t lost your sense of humor,you’ve just misplaced it again ! Winner !!!

      • Josh should seriously consider banning you. I can’t tell if you are a Honda supporter who is a horrible person or if you’re a Khanna supporter who wants to look like a Honda supporter who is a horrible person or a Honda supporter who wants to look like a khanna supporters looking like a Honda supporter being a horrible person, but it really doesn’t matter. Your insults and lack of respect don’t add anything to this discussion. I hope you will one day understand how offensive your remarks are.

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