Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Chaka Fattah, who has served PA’s 2nd congressional district since 1995, was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury on criminal charges relating to bribery, money laundering and racketeering.
Fatah’s district covers all of Northwest Philadelphia, including Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy and Germantown.
According to the FBI, when Fattah was running for mayor of Philadelphia in 2007, he used his mayoral and congressional campaign funds to repay his son’s, Chaka Jr.’s, college debt. He and a staff member paid a political consulting firm to make 34 payments on the loan for about $23,000.
The FBI also said that in 2008 Fattah helped lobbyist Herbert Vederman, a former deputy mayor of Philadelphia and aide in his mayoral campaign, to attain an ambassadorship or an appointment to the United States Trade Commission. In return Vederman gave Fattah $18,000, which was disguised as a payment for a car sale that never happened. Vederman, according to the authorities, bribed Fattah on more than one occasion, and Fattah used the money to pay for personal expenses, including his taxes.
Another one of Fattah’s alleged schemes involved a nonprofit organization that he started. The FBI said Fattah used the organization to repay $600,000 to a supporter who loaned him money in connection with the mayor’s race. Additionally, the authorities believe that Fattah and his co-defendants in the case – a staff member, a lobbyist and two others – received an illegal $1 million loan during the mayor’s race, which Fattah then used federal and charitable funds to repay.
Fattah has denied all charges. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison.