Sunday, January 26, 2014

An Exchange Of Letters-- Ro Khanna And Rep. Mike Honda


Ro Khanna-- the Republican wing of the Democratic Party

Ro Khanna, an especially slimy icon of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, has raised immense sums of money from wealthy people looking to replace a dedicated tribune of ordinary working families like Honda. A perfect example of the kinds of fake "Democrats" backing Khanna is sleazy Wall Street bank lobbyist Harold Ford. Like Khanna, Ford is eager to cut Social Security benefits for retired people using accounting tricks like Chained CPI. Khanna is also being backed by out-right Republicans, like Marc Leder, the Florida hedge fund crook who hosted the infamous 47% fundraiser for Mitt Romney that helped lose him the election.
The Khanna campaign said Tuesday it brought in $402,328 in the final quarter of 2013, bringing his total raised to $3.2 million. Khanna has nearly $2 million on hand for the June 3 primary in the 17th Congressional District, one of the most closely watched House races in the country.
Honda brought it around $250,000 this quarter and has $622,000 cash on hand. He is one of only two incumbents on the Blue America Worthy Incumbents page. Last week, DWT acquired a copy of a letter Khanna's campaign manger, Leah Cowan, sent to the Honda campaign:
Dear Congressman Honda,

I was encouraged to see your Tweet yesterday about your co-sponsorship of House Joint Resolution 25, to amend the Constitution and overturn Citizens United. We are in complete agreement on this important issue. Unlimited spending by outside special interest groups is polluting our politics.

Today, I invite you to join me in asking independent expenditure campaigns and super PACs, many of which rely on outside donors, to keep their money out of the 17th District race.

Let’s stand together with the other candidates in this race and take the same People’s Pledge Senator Elizabeth Warren and her opponent did to keep independent expenditures out of their race in 2012.

Senator Warren and Scott Brown agreed to pay a penalty of 50 percent the cost of any TV, radio, or Internet advertising by an outside group-- whether that ad supported the candidates themselves or aimed to attack their opponent. The money would be donated to a charity chosen by the other candidate. I believe we should embrace this landmark agreement and expand it to include direct mail expenditures as well. By saying no to all forms of advertising from outside groups, we are taking real stand against Citizens United.

Senator Warren said at the time that by taking the pledge, she and Brown “have now moved beyond talk to real action to stop advertising from third-party groups.”  She was right.  Their pledge effectively stopped SuperPAC expenditures from getting involved in their race.

I hope you will take this pledge with me-- and join me in asking any other candidates who may enter this race to do the same.
The response from Doug Greven, Honda's campaign manager left the Khanna money machine confused, panicked and reeling:
Hi Leah,

Thanks for sending this along.

In the true spirit of keeping undue influence out of this election, we propose limiting contributions to all candidates in this race to an amount that puts millionaires on a level playing field with ordinary folks: $570. This is the same limit as local elections in the city of Fremont, in our district.

We propose that all campaigns refund contributions to any donors who have already given more than this limit of $570. Your campaign can start by refunding the $11,000 in contributions from the five donors who have already requested a refund because Ro misled them. He had asked for their max-out contributions to run for an open seat, then used their money to run in a different district-- against Mike.

Then your campaign can continue by refunding contributions to Marc Leder (gave $5,200 to Ro) who hosted Mitt Romney for the fundraiser where he made his 47% remark, and Peter Thiel (gave $2,500 to Ro) who has given millions to the Club for Growth in order to elect far-right conservatives like Ted Cruz.

We look forward to your response.
The misled donors Greven referred to were tricked by Khanna into contributing under the guise of running in a neighboring district against another incumbent. (I recently asked Nick Ruiz in Florida, who asked for money from progressives by claiming to be running against conservative John Mica before revealing he had skipped to another district to run against Alan Grayson, to refund campaign contributions. Like Khanna, he hasn't refunded the money.) This is the letter the Khanna campaign got from 3 of the campaign donors who felt misled and want their money back:
Dear Ro,

In 2011, you asked us to contribute to your campaign to be Pete Stark’s successor when he retired. You are an energetic, smart person who shared our values, so we gave you $6,000 to support this goal.

But you are not using our money the way you promised. Instead, you’re using it to run against Congressman Mike Honda, a man who has spent his life increasing opportunities for people to better themselves, including you. We cannot support you in this and we don’t want our money to play any part in it either.

We request a refund of the $6,000 we gave you under the false pretense that you would use it to run in an open seat, which you clearly are not doing now. We did not give you the money to replace Congressman Mike Honda-- a well-respected, accomplished, former Japanese internment camp survivor, former science educator, Asian-American trailblazer and legislator.


Sophia Yen

Steve Silberstein

Ted Fang
Cowan says they can forget about getting their money back, claiming it would be "impractical." A few weeks ago, Ruiz told me on the phone he would return the campaign donations I have him… but still hasn't. You can contribute to Honda's campaign here.

UPDATE: Only Right Wingers Give To Khanna

After a deranged Under Assistance Campaign Manager on Ro's fat payroll had a Twitter breakdown, a good friend of mine in Cincinnati sent me this note:
And re Peter Thiel, who they mention in their letter to him. If you write about this again, you might want to include this from Thiel's wikipedia… pretty powerful I think:

Thiel has contributed donations to Rep. James E. Rogan, Don Stenberg, Sen. John Thune Douglas Forrester, Rep. Robin Hayes, Sen. John Cornyn, Sen. Elizabeth Dole, Sen. Lamar Alexander, State Sen. Dick Monteith, Rep. Lee Terry, Sen. Chuck Hagel, Rep. Dan Lungren, Rep. Bob Beauprez, Rep. Mike Simpson, Rep. Tom Tancredo, Rep. Mary Bono, Gov. Butch Otter, Rep.Dana Rohrabacher, Rep. Nancy Johnson, Rep. Scott Garrett, Rep. Tim Johnson, Rep. Bill Thomas, Sen. Jeff Flake, Sen. Jim Demint, Sen. Jim Talent, Rep. Denny Rehberg, Rep. Rob Simmons, Rep. Jon Porter, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, Rep. Ed Royce, Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Gordon H. Smith, Rep. Bob Schaffer, John Neely Kennedy, Sen. Norm Coleman, Rep. Mike Coffman, Rep. Eric Cantor, John Raese, Dino Rossi, Ryan Brumberg, Sen. Rand Paul, Randy Altschuler, Rep. Justin Amash, State Sen. Richard Tisei, Kevin McCarthy, Sen. Ted Cruz, Josh Mandel, and Sen. Orrin Hatch.

The only Democrat Thiel has contributed donations to is Ro Khanna.

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