Democratic challenger Ro Khanna is accusing incumbent and fellow Democrat Rep Mike Honda (D-Ca) of campaign ethics violations, reports the Mercury News.
His supporters have filed an ethics complaint against Honda.
The charge comes after emails leaked to the publication San Jose Metro were published by the alternative publication.
Honda is accused of involving his district staff with campaigning while on the job. Rules prohibit incumbents from using tax funds for campaigning.
“We have a basic rule that you cannot trade on public assets to try to raise funds or advantage your own campaign,” Khanna said in a news conference at his campaign office.
In an email exchange about a list obtained of big money political donors in the district not giving to Honda, then Honda campaign’s political director Lamar Heystek wrote to Honda’s Chief of Staff Jennifer Van der Heide “Great lists — how are we doing outreach to them for $? Can we at least collect emails and send newsletters or something if we can’t do straight asks electronically now? Also do you have the list of the South Asians now endorsing/supporting MH? I want to make sure we are including all of them. Invites going out first thing Monday morning.”
The email was leaked by Van der Heide who had previously resigned.
A Honda spokesman denied rules were violated, but say they are disappointed by what transpired.
“In this instance, while not a violation of House Rules, he believes staff should have taken more care to prevent the appearance of coordination,” said
Honda campaign spokesman Vivek Kembaiyan. Honda “is disappointed and has reiterated his policy and expectations to his staff.”
The email from Van der Heide came from her personal account on a weekend and not her work email.
Khanna trails in the polls and is clearly hoping this charge will tarnish Honda’s campaign.