April 1, 2014

CLAIM: Ro Khanna helped Republicans get on the ballot


The baseless claims about Ro were first reported in the San Jose Mercury News on March 27, 2014[1]:

But Jeffrey Wald of Fremont, an Alameda County Republican Central Committee member, wants a Sacramento County Superior Court judge to order the Alameda and Contra Costa county registrars and Secretary of State Debra Bowen to kick Vanlandingham and Rathore off the June 3 primary election ballot.

His lawsuit claims "Khanna recruited candidates to enter the race as Republicans to split the Republican vote three ways, effectively diluting votes that would otherwise be cast in favor of (Vanila) Singh."

But there was never any evidence to support these malicious attacks[2]:

The lawsuit provides no direct evidence proving Khanna helped get Joel Vanlandingham and Vinesh Singh Rathore into the race.

Within one day, Ro was cleared of any wrongdoing by the judge and the case was closed:

San Jose Mercury News[3]:

Republican booted from ballot, but judge finds no wrongdoing by Ro Khanna

NBC Bay Area[4]:

“Judge: Not Ro Khanna's Fault Republican Dropped from Race”

San Jose Inside[5]:

“Judge Knocks Republican off Ballot, Clears Ro Khanna”

The ruling wasn’t surprising. Ro didn’t know anyone named in the case nor was he associated with anyone close to the people named. The baseless claims launched against Ro for political gain never had anything to do with the case at hand – the dispute was about signatures. All of the malicious and desperate attacks were dismissed immediately, and the case is now closed.

Unfortunately, the judge’s dismissal of the allegations against Ro does not mean there won’t be more attacks. Ro has been gaining ground in the polls and building a grassroots organization never before seen at this scale in a Congressional race. In early March, Ro submitted over 4,000 ballot signatures and the campaign announced that it had reached out to over 100,000 voters. Additionally, Congressman Honda has been facing increasing criticism for refusing to debate. This latest assault was a proof point that those who benefit from the status quo are scared of Ro’s momentum – but it also showed that facts are facts and malicious attacks won’t halt the change coming to the 17th district.

[1] http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_25425325/khanna-recruited-candidates-split-gop-vote-lawsuit-claims?source=pkg

[2] http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_25425325/khanna-recruited-candidates-split-gop-vote-lawsuit-claims?source=pkg

[3] http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_25434818/republican-booted-from-house-ballot-but-judge-finds

[4] http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/South-Bay-Republican-Removed-From-Congressional-Race-252988501.html

[5] http://www.sanjoseinside.com/2014/03/28/judge-knocks-republican-off-ballot-clears-ro-khanna/


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March 27, 2014

CLAIM: Congressman Honda is attending a debate


On January 8, 2014, Ro Khanna submitted a debate proposal to Congressman Honda asking him to participate in monthly debates hosted by local media outlets. At the time, the Honda campaign said they needed to wait until the candidate field was set. That deadline has been passed and nothing has changed: Congressman Honda is desperately avoiding a debate. 

The San Jose Mercury News reached out to both campaigns about a debate that they would co-host with the League of Women Voters. Congressman Honda’s campaign refused to give viable dates and eventually decided not to participate. The Honda campaign also refused to debate on the Ronn Owens show on KGO radio.

In early February, the San Jose Mercury News published an editorial urging Congressman Honda to debate[1]:

“Mike Honda should debate Ro Khanna... declining to debate is wrong. It shows a fundamental disrespect for the democratic system and ultimately for voters.”

Only a few days later, San Jose Mercury News columnist Scott Herhold wrote a piece criticizing Rep. Honda for not debating[2]:

“His refusal so far to debate Khanna bespeaks a man running scared. We need something better than that.”

On March 24, 2014, Congressman Honda’s campaign rejected an invitation to participate in a 90-minute debate hosted by the San Francisco Chronicle, KPIX-TV and KCBS radio.

From the debate invitation:

“Our goal is to provide voters with an opportunity to compare the candidates and their agendas in an unfiltered, in-depth discussion…The debate format would consist of giving each candidate an opportunity to make a 90-second opening and closing statement. The six-member panel would include three representatives from The Chronicle, two from KPIX and one from KCBS. We also intend to give candidates a chance to ask each other questions, and include questions submitted by voters…For The Chronicle, this debate will serve as its pre-endorsement meeting for District 17.”

San Jose Inside[3]:

But for all the partisan sparring going on D.C., Honda seems awfully nervous to take off the gloves and discuss the issues here at home. Honda has skipped numerous candidate forums in the last few months, and now he’s insisting his busy schedule won’t allow him to attend a single debate before the June primary.

Not only is Congressman Honda turning down debate invitations and the San Francisco Chronicle’s pre-endorsement meeting, his campaign is also making false claims that he has agreed to attend a debate.

San Francisco Chronicle[4]:

Honda, however, turned it down. “Congressman Mike Honda will be at the May 3 debate organized by the non-partisan, community-based, League of Women Voters,” said Vivek Kembaiyan, the Honda campaign spokesman.

But even the League’s Gloria Chun Hoo, an organizer of hour long candidates’ forum at Fremont City Hall, said that May 3 event “is not intended to be a debate.”

She said that the forum allow all five CD-17 candidates to respond to the same pre-screened questions. There will be no opportunity for candidates to challenge each other, and candidates will not be asked follow-up questions.

San Jose Mercury News[5]:

“Congressman Mike Honda will be at the May 3 debate organized by the non-partisan, community-based League of Women Voters,” spokesman Vivek Kembaiyan said Monday. “This televised debate, which has been in the works for months, and which all of the CA-17 candidates have been invited to, is the only debate Congressman Honda will be participating in prior to the June 3 primary election.”

The three League of Women Voters chapters sponsoring the May 3 event in Fremont are calling it a forum, not a debate; candidates there will not have any opportunity to question or respond to each other directly.

We believe it is time for Congressman Honda to engage in a transparent discussion of the issues and avoid the same political games that voters are tired of.

[1] http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_25192718/mercury-news-editorial-mike-honda-should-debate-ro

[2] http://www.mercurynews.com/scott-herhold/ci_25203443/changing-californias-congressional-guard-affects-mike-honda

[3] http://www.sanjoseinside.com/2014/03/26/why-wont-mike-honda-debate/

[4] http://blog.sfgate.com/nov05election/2014/03/24/south-bay-rep-honda-refuses-debate-invite-from-chron-2-other-media-outlets/

[5] http://www.ibabuzz.com/politics/2014/03/24/ca17-honda-wont-go-to-media-sponsored-debate/


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February 25, 2014

Honda Campaign Inflates Record Again

The Honda campaign released a statement today inflating the Congressman’s record in several key areas: 

“As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Congressman Honda has a proven record supporting job creation in Silicon Valley,” he said. “The BART extension to San Jose alone, which Congressman Honda helped secure $900 million in funding for, is creating over 10,000 jobs locally. He has passed legislation that led to $4 billion of investment in nanotechnology research & development, as well as a law that has expanded STEM education.” 

Truth Squad already debunked some of these claims in a previous post. Here are the facts again:

  • The Honda campaign also claims that the Congressman has passed "a law that has expanded STEM education”. There is no record of Rep. Honda passing a STEM education bill that he has authored – although his colleagues have successfully led on the issue.
  • Lastly, they continue to exaggerate Rep. Honda’s hand in the BART extension project:
    • In reality, Rep. Honda secured a $2 million earmark for the BART extension from the House Appropriations Committee. He initially asked for $20 million, and the $2 million he actually received was a very small percentage of the $900 million that the Federal Transit Administration ultimately granted the project in 2012.
    • The federal funding only came after voters in Santa Clara County approved a half-cent sales tax.

Congressman Mike Honda has authored only one bill in his entire Congressional tenure that became law: "to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1750 Lundy Avenue in San Jose, California”.

Not a single bill that Congressman Honda has authored (other than the aforementioned post office naming) has been voted on in the House. 

Without a record to run on, Congressman Honda has refused to accept a debate invitation or appear at a single Democratic forum held inside the district.




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February 18, 2014

CLAIM: Ro Khanna is a ‘well-funded millionaire’


Rep. Judy Chu sent out an invitation today to a fundraiser for Congressman Mike Honda with a false description of Ro (February 18, 2014).

“Rep. Honda is facing a tough race against a well-funded millionaire.”

- Feb. 18 email from Congresswoman Judy Chu

THE FACTS: Ro is the son of immigrants, and the product of a middle-class upbringing. Today, Ro is still paying off his own student loans. Ro is not a millionaire. This fundraising email from Congressman Honda’s supporter is just the latest example of a baseless attack waged against Ro. Candidates and their allies should stick to the facts instead of engaging in ad hominem personal attacks. Congressman Honda should call on Congresswoman Chu to correct her misstatement and set the record straight.

Ro is the only candidate in the 17th district who has proposed bold reforms to make Members of Congress live like the rest of us. His plans include taking a personal pledge to refuse Congressional pay raises, ending the gold-plated Congressional pension system, and banning legislators from lobbying for five years after leaving office.[1]

Conversely, it has been well reported that Congressman Honda has taken full advantage of the perks and privileges of the office.

Metro Silicon Valley (November 6, 2013)[2]:

“Honda has government pensions that will reach six figures by the time he retires…”

“Since arriving to Washington in 2001, Honda has allowed PACs, political nonprofits and ethnocentric foundations to treat him to 52 trips at a cost of $122,366.”

“But the truth is that Honda’s frequent trips allow him to keep up appearances at Democratic summits and excursions to Asia dotted along the way. South Korea, in particular, has been one of Honda’s favorite stops—he’s been to Seoul six times at a total cost of $42,494.”

“He makes the rounds at galas and party functions. He goes overseas on behalf of special interests, and in return he makes connections and gets to see a little bit of the world.”

[1] http://www.rokhanna.com/sixsteps

[2] http://www.sanjoseinside.com/news/entries/11_6_13_mike_honda_ro_khanna_congress/



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February 14, 2014

Honda Campaign Inflates Record

Congressman Honda’s campaign has inflated his record in key areas recently. Here are the facts behind some of those claims:

  • In a recent video, Dhaval Brahmbhatt of the SF Bay Area Nanotechnology Council says that “he [Honda] initiated the first bill” on nanotechnology.
  • The campaign video also quotes the Mercury News headline on Congressman Honda’s hand in the BART project: “Rep. Honda secures federal money for the BART Silicon Valley Extension.”
    • Rep. Honda secured a $2 million earmark for the BART extension from the House Appropriations Committee. He initially asked for $20 million, and the $2 million he actually received was a very small percentage of the $900 million that the Federal Transit Administration ultimately granted the project in 2012.
    • The federal funding only came after voters in Santa Clara County approved a half-cent sales tax. 

Congressman Mike Honda has authored only one bill in his entire Congressional tenure that became law: "to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1750 Lundy Avenue in San Jose, California”.

Not a single bill that Congressman Honda has authored (other than the aforementioned post office naming) has been voted on in the House. 


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January 30, 2014

CLAIM: "Mike has not changed"



The Mike Honda for Congress campaign dug up an old video of Ro commending Congressman Honda two years ago (January 30, 2014).

This is the slogan that their campaign embraced in the latest fundraising attack:[1]




That “Mike hasn't changed” is exactly the problem, and it's clear with this kind of silly attack. What the people of the 17th district don't need is more stale, tired political games. They need, and deserve, a real debate about ideas for the future. That's a debate Ro is ready to have. We hope Congressman Honda can “change” enough to allow for that.

Ro has always believed it is important to show respect for trailblazers in the Asian American Community, like Congressman Honda. But as he learned more about the Congressman's record, and spoke with residents of the 17th district, it became clear that he has been ineffective in producing results for his constituents.

Silicon Valley should be at the forefront of our public policy debates – but we have not had that type of leadership.  We need a representative who understands the global economy, how to create good paying jobs, and has ideas for preparing young people for the jobs of the future. That’s why Ro challenged Congressman Honda to monthly debates – he believes voters deserve a real conversation about where the economy is going and what we have to do to ensure that no citizens of the 17th district are left behind.  



On January 8, Ro issued a debate challenge to Rep. Mike Honda, inviting him to discuss the issues important to voters before the June 3rd primary.[2]

Ro also asked voters to submit questions, and the response he received was overwhelming. Unfortunately, Congressman Honda still hasn’t responded to Ro’s challenge. What are his ideas to create good paying job? How will he make sure Silicon Valley continues to lead in high-tech manufacturing? The defining issues of this campaign will be about the future and who can best represent the people of the 17th district. Congressman Honda has made this campaign one of distractions, not issues.

On January 23, Ro asked Congressman Honda to sign the same "People’s Pledge" that Senator Elizabeth Warren championed. The pledge would bar independent expenditures and super PACs from pouring money into the 17th District.[3] That same night, Rep. Honda’s campaign wrote back, and refused to take the pledge – even though Congressman Honda tweeted just one day before about our need to overturn Citizens United. This is the type of “smoke and mirrors” campaign tactic that has led to the massive trust deficit between the people and Congress.

[1] https://act.myngp.com/Forms/6168524114614026240?midqs=2039849156222124032

[2] http://www.rokhanna.com/ro_s_debate_challenge_to_congressman_honda

[3] http://www.rokhanna.com/pledge


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January 09, 2014

CLAIM: Ro Khanna is ‘corporate backed’



Congressman Honda’s allies send out a baseless attack as an attempt to raise money (December 3, 2013).


Now Mike Honda is facing a corporate-backed challenger whose big money donors are intent on buying Mike’s congressional seat.

-       Howard Dean, DFA Chairman


“His opponent is a Silicon Valley groupie looking to buy support from wealthy CEOs by promising them their every wish in Washington. Congress needs more and better Democrats, like Mike Honda, not poor and worse Democrats who will do the bidding of millionaires over the needs of the rest of us.”

-       Charles Chamberlain, DFA’s executive director


THE FACTS: Ro has pledged never to accept money from special interest PACs, including those representing the big corporations that have rigged the game in their favor. And because Ro does not want to be beholden to anyone other than his constituents, he has taken a pledge to never accept special interest-funded trips.

In contrast, Rep. Mike Honda has taken almost $3 million from PACs over his career,[1] and $226,247[2] this election cycle alone. His donors have included big pharmaceutical companies like GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co, and Pfizer,[3] and defense contractors like Lockheed Martin.[4]

In addition to campaign donations and contributions, Rep. Honda has traveled extensively on the dime of various special interest groups. Over his career, these travel expenses total $122,366 for 52 individual trips. He’s traveled domestically and internationally to places including Turkey and South Korea.[5]

[1] http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/pacs.php?cid=N00012611&cycle=Career

[2] http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/pacs.php?cycle=2014&cid=N00012611&type=I

[3] http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/pacs.php?cycle=2014&cid=N00012611&sector=H&seclong=Health&cat=H04&

[4] http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/pacs.php?cycle=2014&cid=N00012611&sector=D&seclong=Defense&cat=D01&induslong=Defense+Aerospace&newMem=N

[5] http://www.legistorm.com/trip/list/by/approver/id/284/name/Rep_Mike_Honda/submenu/personal.html


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January 05, 2014

CLAIM: Congressman Honda is running for re-election against far-right conservatives, not fellow-Democrat Ro Khanna




Congressman Honda’s campaign sends out email to supporters claiming Ro is connected to the Tea Party (December 18, 2013).


“We need your help to fight back against the far-right conservatives trying to buy a Congressman to replace Mike.”



Ro is endorsed by strong Democrats including Lieutenant Governor of California Gavin Newsom and Former Controller and Chief Financial Officer of California Steve Westly.

 Ro is also supported by a long list of local Democratic officials including:

  • Orrin Mahoney, Former Mayor and current City Councilmember of Cupertino
  • Anu Natarajan, Former Vice Mayor and current City Councilmember of Fremont
  • Raj Salwan, City Councilmember of Fremont
  • Cheryl Cook-Kallio, Former Vice Mayor and current City Councilmember of Pleasanton 
  • Bill Quirk, State Assemblymember
  • Anjali Kausar, President, Cupertino Union School District
  • Thelma Boac, Trustee, Berryessa Union School District
  • Nai Hsueh, 2013 Chair and current District 5 Director, Santa Clara Valley Water District
  • Brian Schmidt, 2014 Vice Chair and current District 7 Director, Santa Clara Valley Water District

A majority of Ro’s contributors are first time donors to politics – that means he’s growing the pie of Democratic contributors. Ro is also getting many of the 17th District’s diverse communities engaged with politics for the first time. Supporters from all different backgrounds have contributed blogs about why they support Ro on the campaign's English, Spanish, and Chinese websites.

While Ro has a strong base of local Democratic support and receives nearly 90% of his contributions from California, the majority of Rep. Honda’s donors are not from the 17th District or Northern California. In fact, 32% are from outside the state. He’s gotten $90,768 in donations just from the Washington, D.C. metro area[1] – many of those contributions are from lobbyists.

[1] http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/geog.php?cycle=2014&cid=N00012611&type=I


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January 02, 2014

CLAIM: Ro Khanna is open to cutting Social Security benefits




In a fundraising email sent out to supporters, a Washington, D.C.-based group leveled another false charge:


“…Ro Khanna has embraced cutting benefits and frantically tried to avoid discussing this issue."

-       Adam Green, Progressive Change Campaign Committee


THE FACTS: Ro has pledged to protect Social Security benefits for current AND future beneficiaries and to keep the current retirement age intact. To ensure the long-term solvency of the program, he has embraced getting rid of the payroll tax cap and asking the wealthiest among us to pay their fair share.

In contrast, in 2012 The San Jose Mercury News reported that Rep. Honda said he would be open to raising the retirement age (May 4, 2012):

Honda said Social Security “is not an immediate problem but it has a lifespan that when it hits we’ll be talking about reductions in benefits.” And he said he would support raising the retirement age in proportion to life expectancies.


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December 14, 2013

CLAIM: Ro Khanna is not a true Democrat




Congressman Honda’s allies launch first attack on Ro (June 20, 2013).

Democracy for America executive director Charles Chamberlain calls Ro Khanna a “hack” and says, “nothing is worse than a Democrat that’s ‘Republican lite’” (referring to Ro).

THE FACTS: Ro is a lifelong Democrat and is committed to furthering progressive causes.

  • Appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce in 2009
  • Has served on the Board of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte since 2007
  • Outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ community
  • Worked with the Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers Taskforce to secure a $19 million grant to retrain autoworkers who had been laid off in 2009 and 2010
  • Supports asking the wealthy to pay their fair share in taxes
  • Opposes the Keystone XL pipeline
  • Stands with Wal-Mart workers to demand higher wages
  • Marched against the War in Iraq
  • Was a vocal advocate for SEIU’s Justice for Janitor’s movement in Silicon Valley, including marching and speaking at rallies to pressure technology companies to pay their janitors better wages

To learn more about Ro on the issues: http://www.rokhanna.com/issues

This is the type of baseless name-calling that has brought Washington to a standstill. Throughout Ro’s life and career he has stood firmly behind his progressive principles on issues such as LGBTQ rights, a woman’s right to choose, protecting the environment, safeguarding Social Security and Medicare, opposing the Iraq War, and many others.

On issues of transparency, ethics, and lobbying reform, Ro is much more progressive than his opponent. Ro would have voted for a ban on gifts from lobbyists, voted for disclosure on lobbyist bundling, and he certainly would not have voted to raise his pay during the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Ro is proud that he is not taking special-interest PAC contributions. His campaign is not run on the backs of special interests and Ro is not going to get trapped by partisan dogma. Ro is proud of his record as a member of the Obama administration, and he will continue to share a forward-looking vision of creating jobs, improving education, and reforming government.


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About Truth Squad

The Truth Squad is a group of Ro's volunteers in California's 17th District who are committed to a campaign based on facts and ideas rather than insults and distortions.

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