Federal prosecutors have charged Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA) with a racketeering conspiracy over misuse of marketing campaign funds, bribery and cash laundering. Fattah was a high Democrat on the congressional subcommittee accountable for funding legislation enforcement.
As the rating Democrat on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Science and Justice, Fattah oversaw the funding of the FBI and federal prosecutors which have simply indicted him. Under congressional guidelines, he had to surrender the publish after being charged.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi referred to as the fees in opposition to Fattah “deeply saddening,” in a press release on Wednesday, including that “Congressman Fattah has been a tireless and effective advocate for America’s hard-working families across more than 20 years of distinguished service in the House.”
Fattah has an extended historical past of advocacy for youth mentoring applications. Earlier this yr, he was one of many key backers of President Barack Obama’s initiative referred to as ‘My Brother’s Keeper,’ aimed toward bettering alternatives for black and Latino youth.
In a 29-count indictment, federal officers allege that Fattah, and 4 of his associates engaged in a “racketeering conspiracy” and different crimes, together with bribery, fraud, falsification of data, making false statements to a monetary establishment, and cash laundering.
US Attorney Zane David Memeger of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania introduced the fees Wednesday, naming 4 different conspirators: Florida lobbyist Herbert Vederman, Fattah’s congressional district director Bonnie Bowser, Robert Brand, and Karen Nicholas. Fattah’s spouse, a information anchor on the NBC affiliate in Philadelphia, was named as an unindicted co-conspirator who actively participated within the bribery scheme.
The indictment alleges that Fattah and his co-conspirators borrowed $1 million for the 2007 mayoral marketing campaign in Philadelphia. After shedding the election, Fattah is alleged to have returned the $400,000 to the donor, and repaid the rest via utilizing his personal non-profit to channel charitable and federal grant funds. The conspirators created sham contracts and false accounting entries, tax returns and marketing campaign finance disclosure statements with a view to cover the scheme, prosecutors say.
Four different schemes are named within the indictment. In one, Fattah reportedly tried to steer a $15 million federal grant to a marketing campaign advisor with a view to discharge $130,000 in debt he owed. In one other, he channeled marketing campaign funds via a advisor to repay $23,000 price of pupil loans for his son, Chaka “Chip” Fattah Jr, between 2007 and 2011.
Fattah can also be accused of attempting to safe Vederman an ambassadorship or an appointment to the US Trade Commission, with the $18,000 bribe Vederman reportedly paid falsely reported as fee for a nonexistent automotive sale. Also, some $50,000 in federal grant funds have been funneled to Nicholas via Fattah’s Educational Advancement Alliance (EAA) for a convention on increased training that by no means occurred.
“The public expects their elected officials to act with honesty and integrity,” US Attorney Memeger stated asserting the indictment. “By misusing campaign funds, misappropriating government funds, accepting bribes, and committing bank fraud, as alleged in the Indictment, Congressman Fattah and his co-conspirators have betrayed the public trust and undermined faith in government.”
Fattah has denied the fees, saying that he has “never been involved in any wrongdoing, any unlawful activity and any misappropriation of federal funds,” however reasonably “spent my time helping people.”