There’s yet another rumpus in Santa Clara, this time about dozens of private meetings held in 2021 between the 49ers management and city councilors—dubbed by civilian detractors as the “49er Five.”
But while wags wonder if any confidential info was disclosed behind closed doors, one name has seemingly dodged any attention: former Congressman Mike Honda.
Nearly $3 million in campaign donations from 49er CEO Jed York flowed through “Citizens for Efficient Government and Full Voting Rights,” a PAC founded by Honda, which helped elect three of its four endorsed candidates in Santa Clara in 2020.
According to 49ers spokesman Rahul Chandhok, last September Honda requested support in “bringing fair, balanced and diverse representation to Santa Clara,” and the team was “proud to answer his call.”
But political operative and infamous mudslinger James Rowen is curious if this type of support comes from the same playbook Honda used in 2015, when an ethics probe whistleblower found he helped organize a “1,000 Cranes” pay-to-play scheme. He solicited donors that would allegedly have greater access to Honda for favors after an election, including help smoothing over issues acquiring a visa for family members.
A records request disclosed a small handful of Honda's emails, but revealed that Councilmember Kevin Park messaged the retired Honda about “[meeting] to discuss strategy” about state politics.
It’s up to state ethics officials to decide if those crumbs are enough to investigate whether any “cranes” are involved in Santa Clara, or simply politics as usual.