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Deadline looming on ethics inquiry of San Jose Rep. Mike Honda

Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose), shown in 2014, is the subject of an ethics complaint.

Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose), shown in 2014, is the subject of an ethics complaint.

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The U.S. House Ethics Committee has a Thursday deadline to reveal its next step in a complaint accusing Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) of improperly coordinating campaign and official duties.

The committee said in July that it had received a referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics on June 5 related to Honda and was extending its review period until at least Sept. 3, when it would make its next step public. The committee statement said that its public notice “does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred.”

The complaint against Honda was initiated after a September 2014 report by San Jose Inside that revealed emails exchanged between Honda’s chief of staff, Jennifer Van der Heide, and Lamar Heystek, who was serving as Honda’s campaign manager at the time. The emails discuss potential donors who might be invited by Honda’s office to attend an official State Department roundtable discussion that he cohosted in 2013.

The complaint was filed by supporters of Ro Khanna, a fellow Democrat who lost a hard-fought, costly campaign to Honda and has announced he is challenging Honda again in 2016. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the complaint alleged that Honda “impermissibly used House of Representatives resources and his official position to influence his reelection campaign.”

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Honda’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday. His campaign has previously told the Chronicle that the complaint was politically motivated. The ethics committee declined to comment.

The committee has a number of options as it reaches its next deadline. It could report its findings, though such investigations are rarely wrapped up within the first 90 days. It can also refer the matter to a subcommittee. More often, it gives itself more time to evaluate the complaint.

Twitter: @noahbierman


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