Congressman Chaka Fattah indicted on corruption charges

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, a Democrat who serves Pennsylvania’s 2nd congressional district, was indicted on political corruption charges. The U.S. Attorney’s office alleges Fattah illegally used campaign funds, bribed supporters with political favors, and stole money from a charity that received federal funds.

According to NPR, investigators traced the corruption back to the start of Fattah’s mayoral campaign.

The charges against Fattah and four other associates stem from Fattah’s failed 2007 campaign for mayor of Philadelphia. According to the indictment, Fattah and his associates allegedly borrowed $1 million from a wealthy supporter. When he lost, they allegedly returned the unused $400,000 and then arranged for a nonprofit that they controlled to pay out the remaining $600,000.

To conceal the missing $600,000 from the charity, Fattah and some of his associates falsified records, generated fake contracts and lied on mandated disclosure statements.

At a press conference held Tuesday in Philadelphia, U.S. Attorney David Memeger described the greater problem with political corruption, CBS News reported.

“The public does not expect their elected officials to misuse campaign funds, misappropriate government funds, accept bribes or commit bank fraud,” Memeger said. “These type of criminal acts betray the public trust and undermine faith in government.”

On Tuesday the congressman commented on the indictment, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

In Washington, Fattah said to reporters, “I’ll stand by my previous statement that I’ve never been involved in any wrongdoing; any unlawful activity; any misappropriation of federal funds.

“This is not Deflategate,” he said, referring to the controversy surrounding New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s use of underinflated footballs.

The congressman has yet to release an official statement, but has promised to do so soon. Fattah has represented the congressional district since 1995.

[National Public Radio] [CBS News] [Philadelphia Inquirer] [Image via Reuters]