When you do politics, you should always read local newspaper reports whenever possible. They often tell you things that you won’t hear from the national news organizations. Case in point: Mike Honda (D, CA-17). He had a bad week, from a ‘campaign shenanigans’ point of view. This is how The Hill described it:
Shown notes from his district office’s staff retreat, Rep. Michael M. Honda allegedly acknowledged to ethics investigators that what he was seeing was “open to a lot of interpretation, but it doesn’t look good.”
The California Democrat’s former campaign manager presented official staff with a strategy in which district office events would be used to raise money, according to Office of Congressional Ethics documents released Thursday.
When I read that, I said… All right? Is this one of those arcane things that happen in government- based campaign finance law? But, since I am familiar with sin as practiced in Dizzy City, I went looking for why this is a big deal. And, thanks to the San Jose Mercury News, I know know why. You see, the congressional investigators started off by asking whether Honda was using official functions and resources to do campaign-related business. Honda, who knew that the answer is always supposed to be ‘no,’ said no. Which is when the fun started:
Well, [investigators] asked, what about this memo for the 2012 retreat that described a “transactional” approach to treating Honda’s 1,000 “cranes,” the people who each gave $1,000 to his campaign?
Honda acknowledged that the retreat talk might have veered toward the campaign, but it was probably “just to get a good handle” on his district’s demographics.
Then the questioners moved in for the kill. What about the notes for a presentation at the 2013 retreat that included this line from his campaign manager: “DC makes policy — we do events — Campaign takes DO (district office) events and uses them to raise $.”
And that was the thing that Honda admitted didn’t look good. That was it, right there. And Mike Honda is right: it doesn’t look good. In fact, as Scott Herhold (the guy who wrote that Mercury News column quoted above) went on to note, this looks incredibly ‘sloppy and arrogant.’ I know, I know: to think that this could be said of a Democratic incumbent…
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: CA-17, by the way, is a D+20 seat. In 2014 it was one of those districts where you could vote for the Democrat, or you could vote for the Democrat. It probably will be that way again in 2016, but Mike Honda losing would still be a net gain for the Republic anyway. It does us no harm whatsoever to boot an entrenched Democrat off of the Appropriations Committee… and, oh, yeah, out of the House of Representatives, too. I suspect that a lot of those guys think of it in that order, themselves.