Democratic Rep. Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania offered House Speaker Paul Ryan his resignation from the House effective October 3 following his conviction on charges of racketeering, fraud and money laundering.
“I’m very sad about the verdict the jury rendered yesterday and because of that, my resignation is effective Oct. 3, 2016. Despite my resignation I am working to clear my name of these charges and plan to mount an appeal,” Fattah said in the letter to Ryan.
In response, Ryan called on Fattah to resign immediately.
“Mr. Fattah has betrayed the trust of this institution and the people of Pennsylvania, and for that he should resign immediately from the House of Representatives,” Ryan said in a statement. “We must hold members to the highest ethical standard, and I hope that Democratic leaders will join me in seeking his immediate resignation.”
Fattah acknowledged the stern admonition.
“With that said, in further consultation with House Leadership, we are working to identify an agreeable time frame which will relieve the House of any distractions in carrying out the people’s business,” Fattah said. “I hold the institution of the Congress of the United States in the highest regard and am thankful for the privilege to have served.”
The veteran Pennsylvania congressman was convicted Tuesday in a case related to his efforts to repay an illegal $1 million campaign loan related to his unsuccessful 2007 mayoral bid.
Prosecutors said Fattah routed federal grant money and nonprofit funds through his consultants to pay back the illegal loan.
Defense lawyers acknowledged Fattah might have gotten himself in financial trouble after a costly mayoral bid, but they said any help from friends amounted to gifts, not bribes. His lawyers also argued that any fraudulent activities were engineered without Fattah’s knowledge by two political consultants who pleaded guilty in the case, but he was found guilty of all counts against him, including racketeering, fraud and money laundering.
The 59-year-old Democrat has been in Congress since 1995, but he lost his April primary and his bid for another term. His current term ends January 2.