Rep. Chaka Fattah was found guilty on 23 corruption charges Tuesday
The charges stem from an illegal loan to Fattah's failed 2007 Philadelphia mayoral campaign
Pennsylvania Rep. Chaka Fattah was convicted on federal corruption charges Tuesday.
The 59-year-old Democrat, who represents West Philadelphia, was found guilty on all 23 charges he faced, which included racketeering, money laundering and fraud.
The charges stemmed from schemes to repay an illegal $1 million loan to Fattah’s failed 2007 Philadelphia mayoral campaign, with the Justice Department arguing that Fattah used federal grants and nonprofit funds, routed through campaign consultants to repay the loan.
Four co-defendants were also convicted.
“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. “Today’s verdict makes clear that the citizens of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania expect their public officials to act with honesty and integrity, and to not sell their office for personal gain. Hopefully, our elected officials in Philadelphia and elsewhere hear today’s message loud and clear.”
Fattah issued a statement Tuesday afternoon touting his work on education and home foreclosures, saying he’s “proud of that record.”
“This is an extraordinarily difficult day for me and my family,” he said. “While today’s outcome isn’t what we had hoped, I respect our nation’s judicial system.”
A spokesperson declined comment beyond the statement when asked if the congressman plans on stepping down.
Fattah’s political career was already coming to an end: He’d been defeated by state Rep. Dwight Evans in a late-April Democratic primary after drastically outspending Fattah, whose campaign funds were siphoned away by mounting legal fees.
In Congress since 1995, Fattah held a seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee.
Noah Bookbinder, the executive director of the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, called for Fattah to resign.
“The conviction of Rep. Fattah highlights another sad example of the kind of ethical failure we should never see from Congress,” Bookbinder said in a statement. “Fattah used his office for his own personal gain, as well as that of his friends and family. He should resign from Congress immediately.”