Democratic Representatvie Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania has been found guilty on all 23 public corruption charges that were brought against him, including racketeering and fraud. The Hill reports:
After Tuesday’s conviction, Fattah could face a lengthy prison term. The charges related to conspiracy, falsification of records and mail fraud each carry sentences of up to 20 years in prison.
Fattah borrowed $1 million from a donor during his unsuccessful campaign for Philadelphia mayor and later repaid part of the loan by using funds from charitable and federal grants received by his nonprofit.
The Justice Department said Fattah also used funds from his mayoral and congressional campaigns to help pay off his son’s student loan debt.
The prosecutor in the case gave a statement to CNN saying it was a message to elected officials everywhere about “honesty and integrity.”
“Chaka Fattah Sr. and his co-defendants betrayed the public trust and undermined our faith in government,” said U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger, whose office prosecuted the case. “Today’s verdict makes clear that the citizens of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania expect their public officials to act with honesty and integrity, and to not sell their office for personal gain. Hopefully, our elected officials in Philadelphia and elsewhere hear today’s message loud and clear.”
In an apparent nod to the ongoing Clinton email investigation, the White House cited the verdict as proof of the fairness of the DOJ. From the Hill:
Press secretary Josh Earnest would not comment on the verdict itself, but called the case “good evidence” that the Justice Department “is faithful to their mandate to pursue justice irrespective of political affiliations.”
Fattah has been in office since 1995 and sat on the House Appropriations Committee. He finally gave up his seat as the top Democrat on the committee last year when charges were brought against him.
Chaka “Chip” Fattah Jr., the congressman’s son, is already serving time in jail for similar charges. He was convicted of 22 counts last November. He was sentenced to five years in prison in February of this year.