Politics

Rep. Chaka Fattah Found Guilty of Corruption

Pennsylvania congressman doesn't resign, but he's already lost his seat

Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., was convicted in a corruption case. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Chaka Fattah was convicted Tuesday on federal corruption charges that included a scheme to pay off debt from his failed campaign for mayor of Philadelphia, the Justice Department said.  

In a statement, Fattah acknowledged the conviction but stopped short of saying outright he had any plans to resign. He's already lost his primary, however, so he wouldn't be returning to Congress next year anyway.  

"This is an extraordinarily difficult day for me and my family," Fattah wrote. "Today's decision notwithstanding, it has been my privilege to serve the constituents of the Second Congressional District for over 20 years."  

Fattah, 59, had been charged in a 29-count indictment with racketeering conspiracy, bribery and wire fraud as part of a probe launched by the IRS and FBI in March 2013.  

A jury returned the verdict against Fattah following a four-week trial. Three others were also convicted.  

Prosecutors alleged the Pennsylvania Democrat took bribes and stole charitable donations and campaign contributions as well as misused federal grant money under his control.  

The case largely centered around a $1 million campaign loan during an unsuccessful mayoral bid in 2007.

"Chaka Fattah Sr. and his co-defendants betrayed the public trust and undermined our faith in government,” said U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger, whose office prosecuted the case.

 

 

Fattah's son was found guilty last year in a 22-count fraud case for alleged misspending of loans and education funds.  

Chaka Fattah's sentencing is set for Oct. 4. He has already lost his primary bid for a 12th term in Congress.  

Customarily, members resign after being convicted but Fattah has not yet said what he will do. When he was indicted, the congressman gave up his position as ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee overseeing criminal justice and science spending.  

Fattah's trial included testimony from fellow Pennsylvania Democrat Sen. Bob Casey whose office  prosecutors say received a letter from Fattah about the appointment of a political consultant to a federal office. No action was taken by Casey's office.  

Casey said Tuesday Fattah's conviction was "very sad" for the state of Pennsylvania.  

"When a public official engages in the conduct that was alleged, they've got to be held fully accountable," Casey said.  

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report. Contact Rahman at remarahman@cqrollcall.com or follow her on Twitter at @remawriter

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