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BREAKING: PA-2: Chaka Fattah Indicted

Chaka-FattahWell, the other shoe finally dropped.

Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Philadelphia) was indicted on 29 counts today.

“Congressman Chaka Fattah Sr., 58, of Philadelphia; lobbyist Herbert Vederman, 69, of Palm Beach, Florida; Fattah’s Congressional District Director Bonnie Bowser, 59, of Philadelphia; and Robert Brand, 69, of Philadelphia; and Karen Nicholas, 57, of Williamstown, New Jersey, were charged today in a 29-count indictment with participating in a racketeering conspiracy and other crimes, including bribery; conspiracy to commit mail, wire and honest services fraud; and multiple counts of mail fraud, falsification of records, bank fraud, making false statements to a financial institution and money laundering,” according to a statement from the Department of Justice.

“As charged in the indictment, Congressman Fattah and his associates embarked on a wide-ranging conspiracy involving bribery, concealment of unlawful campaign contributions and theft of charitable and federal funds to advance their own personal interests,” said Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell.  “When elected officials betray the trust and confidence placed in them by the public, the department will do everything we can to ensure that they are held accountable.  Public corruption takes a particularly heavy toll on our democracy because it undermines people’s basic belief that our elected leaders are committed to serving the public interest, not to lining their own pockets.”

During Fattah’s unsuccessful 2007 Philly mayoral campaign, he borrowed $1 million from a donor and disguised it as a loan to a consulting company. After the election, the remaining $400,000 was returned.

To secure the rest of the money, Rep. Fattah funneled federal and charity grants through an educational nonprofit he founded (Fattah sits on the powerful House Appropriations Committee).

Rep. Fattah also employed similar methods to use campaign money to pay back political consultants and even used some of it for his son’s college debts.

To top it all off, lobbyist Herbert Vederman (who was indicted along with Fattah) bribed the Congressman in order to secure an ambassadorship or appointment to the U.S. Trade Commission.

None of these charges, though, are particularly surprising. The writing has been on the wall for Chaka Fattah for quite some time.

Last August, the Congressman’s former Chief of Staff Greg Naylor was indicted for defrauding the IRS and stealing from Philadelphia schools. While working on Fattah’s 2007 mayoral bid, Naylor concealed the theft of grants and charitable funds to repay debts from that campaign.

Naylor also used $22,663 of campaign funds to pay off Chaka Fattah Jr.’s college debts.

The ex-Chief of Staff eventually plead guilty to the charges. His plea memo can be read here.

Fattah Jr. has also been indicted for filing false tax returns, and using money from business loans to pay for personal expenses. The Congressman’s son chose to represent himself at his trial and is accused of misusing over $200,000 in bank loans.

That still is nothing compared to his father who, according to a Daily News study, paid out at least $5.8 million to associates through taxpayer-funded nonprofits.

Chaka Fattah finished fourth in the 2007 Philadelphia Democratic Mayoral Primary, for which he staked his entire career and reputation, gaining just 15% of the vote.

UPDATE: Luke Russert of MSNBC is reporting that Congressman Fattah will “recuse” himself from his seat on the Appropriations Committee:

UPDATE 2: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi confirms Fattah is temporarily stepping down from some of his positions on the Appropriations Committee:

25 Responses

  1. There are some interesting time limits in this article however I don’t know if I see all of them heart to heart. There is some validity however I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we wish extra! Added to FeedBurner as well

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  4. Why the hell does this racist society allow George E. Norcross and his group of arrogant crooks and liars tp get away woth crimimal activity on every level
    WTF is wrong with this country. That TYRAMT should be Tarred and Feathered.

    I see why other countries hate the USA Norcross is am evil SOB

  5. Meanwhile the Real Crooks white men George E Norcross, Senator Stephen Sweeney and Christie get away with fraud, wire tapping, cyber crimes, trafficking, Rico and murder

  6. If the feds want to find real corruption in PA, then look closely at the entire PA court system, but especially Family Division in Allegheny County.

  7. Herb Vederman is not a “fall on his sword” kind of guy.

    FYI I don’t think Meredith Vederman is at all involved. Herb, for all his faults, is very protective of his kids. I don’t think Meredith is still married to Mr. Greenberg. The reference to a former marriage is, to my mind, a disgusting smear of a totally innocent person. There is not a scintilla of evidence that anyone but the egomaniacal Herb was involved.

    Mrs. Fattah is far more culpable and yet…not indicted.I do think her TV career is over.

    What is astounding is that the highly politicized Obama DOJ indicted a Democrat and a black Democrat at that. This must be very, very bad. I think they have lots of wiretaps and recorded conversations.

  8. “On Page 4 of the 85-page indictment under the category of “Affiliates of the Fattah Enterprise,” “Person E” is named as “the spouse of defendant Chaka Fattah Sr.” Congressman Fattah is married to NBC10 News in Philadelphia anchor Renee Chenault-Fattah.

    On Page 18, the indictment alleges “Person E” was involved in the fabricated sale of her 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera, the proceeds from which were used to secure a mortgage on a Pocono Mountains vacation home.”

    Why wasn’t Renee indicted?

  9. More intrigue, huh Mr. Unknown?

    LOL … It wasn’t too long ago that you and your shill pals were screaming about how her campaign was financed by her rich husband. Now AG Kane needed help from a crooked lawyer … Yeah … OK …

    What’s next … A plastic recyclable was found in AG Kane’s regular trash bin?

  10. Perv: In an 11/08/12 feature in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Duane Morris Attorney Alan Kessler was described as a pivotal member of Kathleen Kane’s campaign finance team. Now that Kessler has received a subpoena (and perhaps a target letter) from the FBI, I wonder what information he will divulge about your beloved Attorney General?

  11. This will make for an interesting perp walk:

    Chaka Fattah
    Rob McCord
    Kathleen Kane
    Ed Pawlowski
    Vaughn Spencer
    Stephen Reed
    J.P. Miranda
    Ron Waters
    Harold James
    Michelle Brownlee
    Louise Williams Bishop
    Leanna Washington

  12. Democrats, Congressman Chaka Fattah Sr., 58, of Philadelphia; lobbyist Herbert Vederman, 69, of Palm Beach, Florida; Fattah’s Congressional District Director Bonnie Bowser, 59, of Philadelphia; and Robert Brand, 69, of Philadelphia; and Karen Nicholas, 57, of Williamstown, New Jersey, are they not?

  13. Unknown is a moron with 18 screen-names. Why would anyone care about his innuendo … LOL … What a drama queen … “the most devastating blow” …. “yet to be dealt” …

    If you live in Philadelphia, your Mayor is a Democrat. Your DA is a Democrat. Your Attorney General is a Democrat. Your Governor is a Democrat. Your President is a Democrat. And your next President is going to be a Democrat. Doesn’t seem so “ruined” to me …

  14. Unknown…

    While Kane’s political fortunes are not doing well, she is hardly involved in the kind of money corruption involving the others on this list, and shouldn’t be in the same sentence with them.

    As for “the most devastating…” you imply a bigger fish. Big Ed Rendell himself (though not still in office)? Mayor of Philly? Brady? Wolf?


  16. How did Chaka think he could get away with all of this and yet still after being charged still think he can get away with it . Why did it take the AG’s office 7 years and 3 Congressional Elections later to bring these charges leaving a Very corrupt Congressman in office . The People in the AG’s office that dragged their feet should go to Jail along with Chaka for allowing this to goon for so very long !!!!

  17. Feds are looking into Rich Fitzgerald in Allegheny County. Word has it that he and Pittsburgh mayor Peduto are on wire for pay-to-play. Three state reps and a prominent state senator also in the dragnet.

  18. Kane. McCord. Pawlowski. Spencer. Fattah. The utter ruination of the PA Democratic Party continues unabated. And the most devastating blow of all has yet to be dealt..

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