With a five-way primary and a criminal trial on the horizon, Rep. Chaka Fattah has had to spend his money wisely. But there isn’t much to spend.
In October, Fattah’s re-election campaign was down to just $822, Jeremy Roebuck of the Inquirer reported.
Fattah’s troubles were compounded Tuesday when his team of lawyers requested to be removed from the case, citing a lack of payment over the last five months. U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III reminded Fattah of the gravity of the 29 federal charges he faces – including bribery and racketeering.
“I think you need to take this matter seriously and think hard and fast about your priorities,” Bartle told the Philadelphia-based Congressman.
Despite the charges – and the scandal surrounding his family – Fattah insisted there’s no reason to question his integrity.
“As a person who has lived a life without blemish, I don’t think there’s any suggestion I’m not going to pay my bills,” Fattah said in court.
After the hearing, Fattah chalked up the judge’s warning as a misunderstanding of his intentions.
“I’m not suggesting that I’m not taking this matter seriously,” Fattah said. “But one thing has to come after another, and you have to make rational decisions. We don’t think much of the allegations, but this is an important matter.”
Fattah’s chances at a 12th term have been rocked by the federal indictment, with four Democrats stepping up to challenge him in the April 26th primary – State Rep. Dwight Evans, Lower Merion Township Commissioner Brian Gordon, Philly Ninth Ward Leader Dan Muroff and State Rep. Brian Sims.