Someone affiliated with Rep. Ro Khanna has been
kicked off the progressive site Daily Kos a second
time for making comments while using a fake
user name, known as sockpuppeting.
17TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Rep. Ro Khanna has always ran on the pledge to be Silicon Valley’s man in the halls of Congress. One of his first forays into the nexus between progressive ideology and the tech world came earlier this year when he slammed President Donald Trump‘s pick for the Federal Communication Commission for being a strong opponent of net neutrality.
It came as no surprise two weeks ago that Khanna posted a short commentary on the influential progressive website Daily Kos that cozied up to lefties while supporting the concept of net neutrality, which calls for all online content to be access equally regardless of the source.
There is much sentiment in support of Khanna’s stance on the left, but the posting perhaps unwittingly returned the spotlight to his most recent campaign’s darkest moments.
According to Daily Kos, a user named “csquared2” interacted in the comments section of the piece with a Daily Kos contributor who has written numerous articles highlighting Khanna’s campaign donors, especially those affiliated with the charter school movement, a decidedly un-progressive issue.
The comments made by “csquared2” appeared innocuous and referred to Khanna as a “senator,” instead of a congressmember. However, the account appeared to raise suspicions.
Hours later, an administrator for Daily Kos posted a comment flagging “csquared2” for posting from the same IP address as whomever posted Khanna’s original article, an act known as using a “sockpuppet.” The nexus also suggests that the user is affiliated with Khanna’s staff or someone affiliated with the congressmember.
“We see, Csquared, that you are blogging from the same IP address this diary was published from. So YOU are affiliated with Ro Khanna’s campaign but you don’t disclose that,” Daily Kos staff wrote. “Sorry, but bye.”
“Csqaured2” was subsequently booted from the site, which keeps strict tabs on users, particularly those affiliated with political campaigns from posting without disclosing their ties to candidates or issue.
To observers of last fall’s contentious election in the 17th Congressional District, this incident is eerily familiar and served as a harbinger to accusations Khanna and his campaign stole digital donor files from former Rep. Mike Honda. Khanna and his campaign manager Brian Parvizshahi were later sued by Honda.
But weeks prior to reports of the incident, on Sept. 13, Daily Kos outed Parvizshahi for posting pro-Khanna comments on the site under various user names, including “bayareadubs” and “demdemdem08.” The comments were posted by Parvizshahi in response to an article that questioned the legality of a South Bay donor’s contribution to Khanna’s campaign. Daily Kos later linked the IP address to the Khanna campaign.
The founder of Daily Kos Markos Moulitsas subsequently booted Parvizshahi from the site, saying, “This is all so freakin’ stupid. There’s no reason that Parvizshahi couldn’t have responded the way he did admitting his real identity.”
Khanna then admonished his campaign staff in response to the incident. “I have told everyone on my team that they should make comments in the own name and with full transparency. The better arguments are on our side. I am confident everyone will live up to this standard,” Khanna said last September.
Nine days later, on Sept. 22, Parivizshahi and Khanna were accused of violating the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for their alleged involvement in the pilfering of “thousands” of digital donor records from Honda’s campaign, including the infamous “1,000 Cranes” documents later used to Khanna’s advantage to paint Honda as corrupt.
Honda labelled Khanna a “Russian hacker”and Parvizshahi resigned from the campaign. The lawsuit, though, did little to hinder Khanna’s 20-point Election Night victory. The result of the lawsuit, reportedly settled earlier this year, has not been publicly disclosed.