Former staffer who instigated House ethics probe says Honda is not unethical

Rep. Mike Honda’s future in Congress may rest
on a pending House ethics investigation.

CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT |
The former congressional staffer who may ultimately cause the end of Rep. Mike Honda’s political career this fall following the past disclosure of allegedly incriminating emails, now says the eight-time congressman is not unethical.

Ruchit Agrawal, who was once employed by Honda’s district office, is known as the whistle blower who first alerted the local press about internal emails that allegedly reveal Honda’s official and campaign office coordinated his re-election efforts in 2012 and 2014.

Shortly after, supporters of Democratic challenger Ro Khanna contacted the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate the allegations against Honda. The result of the investigation is still pending.

In a interview, Agrawal criticized Khanna for seeking a rematch with Honda following his four-point defeat in November 2014. “Is it really the right thing to do to go down this path where you’re going to spend a million some dollars on television, calling a fellow Democrat unethical when you know and everybody knows Congressman Honda is not an unethical person?”

Agrawal added, “ambition is driving the Khanna campaign, not service.”

He also said attention on the so-called “1,000 Cranes” strategy to link certain benefits from the congressional office to donors of the Honda’s campaign was misconstrued by the media. Agrawal said his comment during a 2012 campaign retreat was a generalization that donors typically believe they receive perks in exchange for campaign contributions.

Some Honda supporters had previously accused Agrawal of being a disgruntled former employee intent on aiding Khanna’s cause. However, he expressed admiration for his former boss, calling his time working with Honda a “real privilege.”

Listen to the entire interview on this week’s East Bay Citizen Podcast
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