Congressman Chaka Fattah, whose district includes large, mostly Black sections of Philadelphia, was indicted today on charges of political corruption. The indictment charges Fattah with bribery, the illegal use of campaign contributions and theft of charitable funds.
Special Agent in Charge Akeia Conner of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Philadelphia Field Office stated in a press release, “Public corruption by our elected officials and their associates undermines the American public’s confidence in our government. When our elected officials and their associates violate the law and create sophisticated financial schemes to enrich themselves, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, will work diligently with our fellow law enforcement partners to restore the public’s trust.”
Fattah denies the charges and stated in a press release on his website, “This has been an eight-year effort by some in the Department of Justice to link my public service career to some form of wrongdoing. With today’s charges, this misguided campaign has now moved from speculation to specific allegations. … As I have previously stated, I have never participated in any illegal activity or misappropriation of taxpayer dollars as an elected official. For the last 21 years, I have represented the people of Philadelphia in Congress with honor and dignity.”
Fattah has stepped aside from his role as ranking member on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science per congressional rules. According to the charges, Fattah and four associates borrowed $1 million from a political supporter during his failed mayoral bid in 2007. Fattah returned $400,000 after the election and allegedly channeled $600,000 to a charity he runs. The charity, the Educational Advancement Alliance, was supposed to help at-risk students in their goals of seeking higher education. It is alleged that Fattah and the other conspirators created fake contracts, and falsified records and financial disclosure statements. In addition, it is alleged that Fattah used the charity to pay back political supporters with federal grants, and that he used $23,000 in campaign funds to pay his son’s student debts.