THIS IS THE DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE DW PUT IN PLACE@NYCDCC
Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.), a onetime rising star who came to Congress 20 years ago as a next-generation reformer, was charged Wednesday with racketeering related to an off-books $1 million loan to his unsuccessful campaign for Philadelphia mayor in 2007.
The Justice Department charged Fattah, a senior member of the powerful Appropriations Committee, and four supporters with 29 counts that included bribery, bank fraud and other corruption charges.
“The public expects their elected officials to act with honesty and integrity,” said U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. “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.”
The wide-ranging investigation has been going on for several years, leading to charges against or guilty pleas from a number of Fattah's associates, including his son and a political consultant to his mayoral campaign.
Prosecutors allege that Fattah and associates took out a secret $1 million loan from a wealthy businessman to help fund his unsuccessful 2007 mayoral campaign, then conspired to use federal grant funds to repay much of it. He also is alleged to have tried to settle a campaign debt by directing a federal grant to his creditor.
Some of the conduct laid out in the indictment was previously aired in September charged filed against a D.C.-based political consultant who had worked for Fattah's mayoral campaign. Fattah was not named in those documents, but several sources told The Washington Post that he was the unnamed public official referred to in charging documents.
That consultant, Tom Lindenfeld, who had also worked with several D.C. mayors and numerous other Democratic candidates, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy to commit fraud and is now pending sentencing.
Fattah said at that time the he has “never been involved in any illegal conduct” or “misappropriation of taxpayer funds."