April 30, 2014


FACT CHECK: Congressman Honda Launches Negative Campaign From His Own Website

Congressman Honda’s website now features “Ro Khanna” as a specific issue on the same level as economy, education, civil rights, etc. Interestingly, many of the issues that Rep. Honda attacks Ro on either mirror President Obama’s policies, or in some cases, are things that the Congressman supports himself. These desperate attacks lack substance but they do highlight one fact: the momentum behind Ro Khanna’s positive campaign is forcing the Honda campaign to build a “straw man” to run against. Unfortunately, Congressman Honda has repeatedly refused to engage in a public debate on the issues and now he’s resorting to the same type of negative campaigning that has left voters disillusioned with a broken Congress.

 

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"Congressman Honda's had a tough couple of months defending his campaign's tactics and decisions,” said campaign spokesman Tyler Law. “We understand why he wants to attack and has gone negative on his own website. But let's just call it what it is. We're the insurgent campaign; we're the ones talking about the issues and generating unprecedented support from the community. This is a panicked response from a campaign that’s mired in the status quo.”

CLAIM:

Democrats in the district are concerned that Ro Khanna has consistently supported tax breaks for big corporations and opposes President Obama’s plan to raise taxes on the richest two percent of the population.

THE FACTS:

  1. President Obama supports lowering the corporate tax rate as part of comprehensive tax reform, as do most Democrats.[1][2]
  2. Ro has consistently stood against tax breaks for big corporations[3], and is the only candidate who has refused to take corporate PAC money.
  3. Ro supported getting rid of the Bush era tax cuts on the top brackets and asking the wealthy to pay their fair share in taxes.
  4. Congressman Honda opposed President Obama and wanted to raise taxes on middle income families[4]
  5. Congressman Honda supports lowering some corporate tax rates and explicitly says on his website that the lower rate is more competitive: “effective tax rates as low as 28%, a more globally competitive rate than our top statutory rate of 35%.”[5]

 

CLAIM:

Khanna also supports lowering taxes on corporations’ overseas profits, which means more outsourcing of American jobs.  

THE FACTS:

  1. President Obama supporters lowering corporate taxes on overseas profits so that capital can be used here in America[6][7]
  2. Congressman Honda supporters lowering corporate taxes on overseas profits so that capital can be used here in America. This position is on his website so it’s puzzling that the Congressman attacks Ro for having the same position.[8]


CLAIM:

Khanna supports the same failed Republican policies that hurt our economy in the first place and puts corporations and the wealthy ahead of the middle class.

THE FACTS:

  1. Ro is the only candidate to champion a comprehensive jobs plan[9]
  2. Ro has a section of his website devoted to policies supporting working families[10]
  3. Ro wrote a book, Entrepreneurial Nation, that stands up to Republican free-market absolutism and has been praised by labor leaders including Richard Trumka.
  4. The same article that Congressman Honda uses to attack Ro on his website features this analysis of Ro's book[12].
““Entrepreneurial Nation: Why Manufacturing Is Still Key to America’s Future” is exactly what Khanna says it is, a fact-based defense of government’s role in spurring domestic manufacturing jobs. Based on his experience as an assistant deputy secretary in the Commerce Department during President Obama’s first term, the book is a series of case studies of American companies that have flourished in the age of globalization, along with careful analysis of the government programs and policies that have helped them compete. Khanna routinely recommends increased spending and support of those government programs. (He is also a supporter of significantly expanded government investment in education, vocational training and job retraining.) In fact, it’s hard to imagine a less libertarian text. Khanna directly calls out the Ayn Rand, Friedrich Hayek-infused Tea Party call to disembowel government. Nearly every government program name-checked by Khanna is under sustained assault from Republican budget-cutters. In an era where most politicians avoid trying to have an explicit record for opponents to campaign against, Khanna’s got nowhere to hide. Government, he argues, can help — indeed, must help — American corporations compete more effectively.

What's most incredible is that this latest round of attacks by Congressman Honda targets Ro for exceeding spending limits in a student government election at the University of Chicago by around $100. [13] Like many people, Ro made a mistake in his youth, and owned up to it. And as Ro has said many times and has put on his website, he is proud of his earlier congressional campaign against a Democrat who voted for the Iraq War and supported sections of the Patriot Act that led to racial profiling. It was a campaign of principle, which was worth fighting for.

In 2013, when Rep. Honda was asked about a statement he made before the San Jose Mercury News Editorial Board about raising the retirement age for Social Security, he denied ever saying it.[14] Voters should be much more concerned about Honda’s recent change-of-heart on raising the retirement age than on something that happened in a campus election almost 20 years ago. 

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[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/obama-to-propose-lowering-corporate-tax-rate-to-28-percent/2012/02/22/gIQA1sjdSR_story.html

[2] http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/07/30/fact-sheet-better-bargain-middle-class-jobs

[3] http://www.rokhanna.com/economy

[4] http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/People-s-Budget-would-kill-all-Bush-era-tax-cuts-2373203.php

[5] http://honda.house.gov/news/press-releases/rep-honda-rolls-out-manufacturing-platform

[6] http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/economic-intelligence/2013/07/31/obamas-new-corporate-tax-grand-bargain-has-potential-for-republicans

[7] http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/07/30/fact-sheet-better-bargain-middle-class-jobs

[8] http://mikehonda.com/issues/jobs-and-economy/

[9] http://www.rokhanna.com/jobsplan

[10] http://www.rokhanna.com/working_families

[11] http://www.salon.com/2013/10/22/silicon_valleys_march_on_washington/

[12] The Chicago Maroon, “SG allegations committee finish hearing testimonies,” Volume 108, Number 13, November 12, 1996

[13] http://blog.sfgate.com/nov05election/2013/08/07/rep-honda-says-its-time-to-scrap-the-cap-on-social-security-payroll-tax/

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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.