|Rep. Mike Honda|
The batch of emails obtained by the paper from a source who previously worked for Honda was sent in February 2013—a month before Ro Khanna officially announced his candidacy. House rules forbid members from coordinating campaign-related business with congressional duties.
The allegations revolve around a State Department roundtable Feb. 23, 2013 featuring a senior advisor in its South and Central Asian Bureau, according to the report. Emails between Honda’s congressional chief of staff and his then-campaign manager suggest they were attempting to choose potential South Asian donors who had made political contributions in the past be invited to the event.
At the time of the emails, Khanna’s entrance into the race was well-documented, if not based solely on an already swollen campaign war chest. The Honda campaign’s interests in attracting South Asian donors was likely a bid to dampen Khanna’s support. Khanna is of South Asian descent.
None of the emails, however, show Honda personally had any interaction or knowledge of potential coordination between his two offices.
On an embarrassing note, emails report also bolster a long-running narrative offered by Khanna regarding Honda’s knowledge of the district’s dominant business sector—the tech industry. “[Mike Honda needs to activate his Netflix account and then you need to input that on his Apple TV and show him how to use his Apple TV. Yes, that’s a requesting [bordering on] personal, but such is life.”
Not only is using your paid staff to run personal errands against House rules, it’s also generally unethical at any place of employment. Moreover, news of the congressman who represents a district containing some of the world's most important high-tech companies having difficulty with the most rudimentary of technological tasks may pose a problem for Honda in terms of optics over the last six weeks of the campaign.