Feds Push 17- to 21-Year Sentence for Fattah

Longtime Pennsylvania congressman convicted of racketeering, bribery, fraud, and obstruction

Pennsylvania Rep. Chaka Fattah received $29,000 in contributions after his indictment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Pennsylvania Rep. Chaka Fattah received $29,000 in contributions after his indictment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted December 7, 2016 at 9:08am

Long-time Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Chaka Fattah could be sentenced to two decades in prison for a multitude of charges including racketeering, bribery and fraud.

Government lawyers on Monday filed a court memo recommending the “self-serving” Fattah be sentenced to anywhere from 17 to 21 years, according to Philly.com.

That would make his sentence the longest imposed on a sitting member of Congress in at least 50 years.

Fattah, who represented West Philadelphia in the House for 21 years, resigned from Congress in June following his conviction and an April Democratic primary loss to state Rep. Dwight Evans.

“Fattah understood the power and trust given to elected officials and that corruption benefits the few at the expense of the many,” Justice Department attorney Eric Gibson wrote. “He chose to violate the trust of his constituents and the taxpayers to line his pockets and advance his personal and professional goals at their expense.”

In response to the memo and the recommended sentence, Fattah, now 60, took to Twitter to remind constituents of his decades of public service and investments in science and education. 

Fattah’s financial troubles began with a failed 2007 Philadelphia mayoral campaign in which he illegally repaid a $1 million campaign loan with funds from an education nonprofit. 

In the years following, Fattah was found to have taken thousands of dollars in bribes and used campaign funds to pay for his son’s education.

“For over 20 years, Fattah held himself out … as a champion of education and clean government,” Gibson wrote. “Fattah sought to strengthen himself politically, enrich himself and his co-conspirators, steal from non-profits and the federal taxpayers, and defraud his campaigns, their creditors and a credit union.”

Four Fattah allies convicted with the former congressman, including former Philadelphia Deputy Mayor Herbert Vederman, will be sentenced at the same hearing on Monday, December 12.