Here’s a name that’s something of a blast from the past. Those of you who have been following political corruption stories for a while will likely recall the tale of former Pennsylvania Congressman Chaka Fattah. It’s been a while since his name has been in the news. In fact, the last time I wrote about him was back in December of 2016 when he was sentenced to the longest stretch in prison of any member of Congress in the history of the country. Fattah was given a ten-year sentence for stealing millions of dollars in both taxpayer money and funds designated for charitable causes. He was only halfway through his time in the crowbar motel, but this week he was quietly released from the slammer with no explanation being given for this generous maneuver by the federal Bureau of Prisons. (Free Beacon)
The United States Bureau of Prisons released a disgraced Democratic ex-congressman Thursday without explaining why he should not be out of prison with more than five years left on his sentence.
Former Pennsylvania representative Chaka Fattah was convicted on charges of bribery and corruption connected to his failed Philadelphia mayoral campaign, in which he accepted an illegal $1 million loan. But the Bureau of Prisons has not offered an explanation for the release, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Fattah’s time in Congress came to an end in 2016 when he, along with several associates, was indicted on federal racketeering and influence peddling charges.
The most obvious guess is that the threat of spreading the novel coronavirus in the prison was the rationale used to justify releasing Fattah. As much as it may rankle people, if we assume that was the reason for knocking half of his sentence off, it was at least consistent with the policies being pushed in Philadelphia. They’re supposedly keeping the more violent and dangerous prisoners behind bars, while booting out those who were guilty of less physically dangerous offenses. Since Fattah’s crimes were strictly of the white-collar variety, I suppose one could make an argument in his favor.
But that doesn’t make it any easier of a pill to swallow. Keep in mind that when Chaka Fattah finally resigned from Congress, it was only to avoid becoming the sixth member in history to be forcibly ejected from the House of Representatives.
And given the laundry list of crimes he was convicted of, particularly considering the nature of the crimes, his removal would have been unavoidable. You’ll recall that Fattah stole more than half a million dollars from public education funds to pay off some of his personal loans. He helped a friend land a position as an ambassador, leading to another $23K mysteriously winding up in his pocket. He also filched tens of thousands of dollars from a non-profit charitable fund to pay for his kid’s college loans.
This guy was shameless, and he never even apologized for all of the grifting and theft. The most he said on that subject at his sentencing hearing was that he had been “found on the wrong side of these questions by a jury.” He never once even suggested that there was any problem with him raiding the public piggy bank for his own benefit. It was as if he simply assumed that, having been elected to Congress, the store was open for business and he planned to cash in as much as possible.
Chaka Fattah will go down in history as one of the most corrupt, self-serving people to ever hold office. And now he’s managed to land himself a release from prison after only serving barely half of the sentence he was given. Some people simply have a charmed life, I suppose. And I guess this means Billy Joel was right when he said only the good die young.