You probably thought you’d heard the last of disgraced former Democratic Congressman Chaka Fattah. Having been found guilty on dozens of corruption charges he resigned from his office and is widely expected to join his son in federal prison for a stretch of as much as 20 years. But you’re not going to be getting rid of him that easily. His legal team was back in court this week arguing that he should be let off the hook because the Supreme Court let Bob McDonnell walk and that’s got to count for something, right? (Philly.com)
Former U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah leaned heavily on a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that narrowed the definition of political bribery in asking a federal court in Philadelphia on Monday to overturn his conviction on corruption charges.
The ex-congressman’s lawyers had telegraphed the move after the high court vacated the conviction of ex-Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell in June – a decision that came days after a federal jury found Fattah guilty on 22 counts in a case with some parallels…
“The Supreme Court’s McDonnell decision undercuts every one of the arguments the government made here that Congressman Fattah committed or agreed to commit an ‘official act,’ ” Merenstein wrote. “Indeed, the government’s arguments in this case as to what constituted an ‘official act’ tracked precisely the arguments rejected by the Supreme Court in McDonnell.”
Um… no. First of all, I’ll fully agree that the ethics laws in Virginia are pretty much trash compared to the rest of the states and he was allowed to take ridiculously expensive gifts from someone who had business before the state government. But in the end, he set up some meetings and urged a state study on his benefactor’s product to be conducted. It looked bad, but perhaps Virginia’s new ethics laws will prevent such things in the future.
None of that speaks to the case of Fattah. With all due respect, sir, you’re not in Virginia so those guidelines wouldn’t apply in the first place. But even more to the point, your case when compared to McDonnell’s was on par with vehicular homicide stacked up against jay walking. You didn’t just accept a few gifts in exchange for a couple of phone calls and meetings. You took mountains of cash and scholarships for your kids from people seeking political appointments. You took a million dollar illegal campaign loan. You helped one of your consultants set up a bogus nonprofit group so you could direct taxpayer money into it to pay off the bills you owed him.
Bob McDonnell certainly acted in a questionable fashion. You were running an organized crime racket. If you find a judge to throw this out then we’re going to want to see his bank ledgers afterward.