The race between Rep. Mike Honda, left, and
Ro Khanna is heating up.

Rep. Mike Honda described opponent Ro Khanna as a “Russian hacker” in his first public comments since his campaign filed a civil lawsuit against Khanna, also a Democrat, and his campaign manager for illegally accessing their fundraising data.

“Mr. Khanna claims to be the voice of ‘new politics’ but this recent incident highlights that he and his campaign embody the absolute worst of Washington – lies, deceit, and conduct we would expect from radical Republicans or Russian hackers but not from someone who calls himself a Democrat,” Honda said Tuesday.

Honda’s comments, in which he also strongly questioned Khanna’s integrity, may be the strongest the 16-year incumbent has ever levied against an opponent, certainly during the current election cycle and rivaling the boastful diatribe that followed his victory over Khanna in November 2014.

Honda said he was shocked to learn about the activities by Khanna’s campaign manager Brian Parvizshahi alleging he accessed, over a three-year period, data pertaining to Honda’s campaign donors. The alleged incident occurred after Parvizshahi was an intern in 2012 for the fundraising consultant used by the Honda campaign.

It is alleged Parvizshahi continued accessing sensitive information from the Honda campaign after the consultant neglected to revoke his access to the cloud data service. Parvizshahi’s activity continued, according to the lawsuit filed Sept. 22, through his elevation from data director to Khanna campaign manager in 2015. Parvishahi resigned just hours after news of the lawsuit was made public last Thursday.

“Mr. Ro Khanna has shown a complete disregard for the law and cannot be trusted. His conduct is unbecoming of any individual running for office and his severe lack of judgment, character and integrity is a clear indication that he is unfit to represent this district,” said Honda.

“Silicon Valley is the epicenter of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that fuels the tech community. Mr. Khanna’s illegal activity sends a chilling message to all businesses, innovators and residents across this country who cherish their privacy and the rights of privacy for all Americans.”

Khanna, in a text message alleged Honda may have committed perjury in the lawsuit against him and his former campaign manager. Khanna, in reference to Honda, added, “He’s become a joke.”

“I guess the rumors that Mike has gone a bit unhinged since losing the primary are true,” said Khanna. “It’s sad to see. This is not the Mike Honda I knew. I hope he finds more peace and dignity in retirement. It’s hard to take him seriously anymore when he’s comparing me to Russian hackers.”