Corruption

Longtime Philly Rep. Chaka Fattah Indicted for Public Corruption

Fattah and others allegedly connected to five different corruption schemes.

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Congress

Attorneys from the criminal division at the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted 11-term Philadelphia-area Rep. Chaka Fattah (D), his chief of staff, a former staffer, a lobbyist who served in Ed Rendell's mayoral administration, and the owner of a tech company, in connection with five alleged schemes to funnel government money and campaign donations for personal ends, such as paying off his son's student loan debt and wiping his own campaign debts by leveraging the prospect of federal grants.

"The public expects their elected officials to act with honesty and integrity," said U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.   "By misusing campaign funds, misappropriating government funds, accepting bribes, and committing bank fraud, as alleged in the indictment, Congressman Fattah and his co-conspirators have betrayed the public trust and undermined faith in government."

Fattah won re-election last year with nearly 88 percent of the vote, although he finished fourth in the 2007 Democratic mayoral primary. He hasn't been challenged in a primary since defeating the incumbent Rep. Lucien Blackwell in 1994. The indictment's allegations of corruptions aren't out of character for Fattah's public image. Two former employees pled guilty to charges of public corruption last year as part of a federal investigation widely understood to involve Fattah. His earmarks have been questioned for years.

Despite the DOJ's insistence that, as Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said, "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," allegations of public corruption have hardly been a deterrent to electoral success before. It took indictments involving cash hidden in freezers for former Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) to lose his bid for re-election, to a Republican that lost two years later. In one-party cities like Philadelphia or New Orleans, the primary systems are often one party within one party too, with figures like Fattah not just slipping under the radar of the democratic process, but thriving on it.

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  1. He relate to Chaka Khan?

      1. Queen Mother??? WTF?

        1. She was crowned by the pope himself.

      2. Hello Muddah
        Hello Fattah…

        1. That’s Queen Mother to you!

      1. *slow clap*

        1. at best that deserves a *narrows gaze*

  2. in connection with five alleged schemes to funnel government money and campaign donations for personal ends

    Isn’t that what most politicians do? He must have pissed off someone important.

  3. “The public expects their elected officials to act with honesty and integrity,” said U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

    They do?!?

    “…Congressman Fattah and his co-conspirators have…undermined faith in government.”

    You say that like that’s a bad thing.

    1. I’m sorry. You’re name – (chortling) – is ZANE?

      1. My first act as most benevolent dictator would be to outlaw chortling. All chortles would mandatorily be replaced with giggles or guffaws. (or any other G word expressing a type of laughter).

      2. He was also a “four-year letterman in men’s gymnastics” while he was at college.

        1. no homo?

          1. I don’t know. My homometer pinged a little when I saw him.

        2. I coached elite gymnasts back east in Pennsylvania (I realize that James Madison University is in Harrisonburg, VA) and had no idea that JMU had a gymnastics team.

    2. It is for an Inquisitor in the cult of the state.

  4. I can’t believe it. I’ve never heard of such a thing.

  5. “The public expects their elected officials to act with honesty and integrity,” said U.S. Attorney Zane

    [citation needed]

    1. The public enjoys its fairy tales.

      1. but not it’s fairy tails… except during pride week. amirite? nohomo.

        1. I have it on good authority, Spencer, that last year’s parade included a significant number of cheerful and well-dressed Queens.

          /comfortable in mixed company despite being labelled fashionably challenged

    2. If he believes that, he must not have a very good opinion of the public. I mean, where would they even get such an expectation? It’s like saying the public expects the sun to rise in the west or a Michael Bay movie to be bearable.

  6. 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

    I’m trying to count how many insane fallacies and delusions are contained within this one sentence. It’s a stellar example of the insanity of government and democracy: the assumption that somehow fallible human beings with self interest magically become public interest angels as soon as there is an election involved. This sentence is, quite simply, a perfect example of the magical thinking that inexplicably surrounds the idea of government like a choking, vile miasma of self-deception.

    1. except for me. I would be the most benevolent dictator ever. That would be my campaign slogan… were I campaigning for my official run for president.

    2. “like a choking, vile miasma of self-deception”

      Damn, that’s a good description.

      1. Well, I originally came up with it when I was trying to find a way to describe your mom.

        1. “Affordable” didn’t cut it?

    3. Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell is part of the machine. She’s obligated to lie, and this one is meant to impress her superiors.

  7. That’s my rep.

    1. makes you wonder if the Philly Omar got got.

      1. Philly has no Omars, only Clays.

        1. maybe that’s a problem that needs rectifying.

          1. Philadelphia would probably firebomb its own neighborhoods in an effort to get an Omar.

  8. NEEDS MOAR RACISMS

    But unfortunately, my encounter with officers is just one in a stream of recent examples of police placing their own safety ahead of those they’re sworn to serve and protect.

    Rhoads, the Fairfax County police lieutenant, was upfront about this mind-set. He explained that it was standard procedure to point guns at suspects in many cases to protect the lives of police officers.
    .
    Interesting; Iraq vet gets treated to dynamic entry raid. Compares it (unfavorably) to war zone tactics.
    .
    Of course, officers’ safety is vital, and they’re entitled to defend themselves and the communities they serve. But they’re failing to see the connection between their aggressive postures and the hostility they’ve encountered in Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore and other communities. When you level assault rifles at protesters, you create animosity. When you kill an unarmed man on his own property while his hands are raised ? as Fairfax County police did in 2013 ? you sow distrust. And when you threaten to Taser a woman during a routine traffic stop (as happened to 28-year-old Sandra Bland, who died in a Texas jail this month), you cultivate a fear of police. This makes policing more dangerous for everyone.

    1. Except that escalation is the entire point for the pigs. If you de-escalate, you don’t get to beat/tase/kill people and dogs. The people who go into the job at this point are doing it specifically because they know they can escalate things if they feel like getting their goon on. They want people to fear them. It’s the whole fucking point.

      I’m always amazed by people who still think that the police, in some way, want to “protect and serve”. The incentives are for the exact opposite. Like I said above, it’s magical thinking about how when someone works for the government they suddenly cease to be a human being and become some sort of angel or at least an aspiring, possibly-flawed but well-meaning angel.

      I can’t tell whether it’s stupidity, delusion, or both.

    2. Triggers are pulled. Mistakes are made.

      Are they this tolerant of homeowners who take proactive measures against home invasions? Do we get the passive-voice defense? “Caltrops were left on the floor. A tripwire shotgun was aimed at the door, and discharged when it was triggered. A trapdoor in the foyer was activated, allegedly dropping several SWAT personnel into an area of the basement known as ‘Warty’s Family Funhouse.’ “

  9. Aw, this is NOTHING. Look at the bullshit Leland Yee (D) from SF did. Arguing for increased gun control, going on national news and a
    Pleading that “gun control saves lives” – as he was conspiring with gun runners and Chinatown gangs.
    Fattah ain’t no Yee.

    1. Yee was simply eliminating the competition and boosting the price of illegal guns. Pretty clever, actually.

  10. “The public expects their elected officials to act with honesty and integrity,”

    Uh, what?

    1. I feel pretty confident the reason this guy got busted is not because he was ‘corrupt’…

      … but because he was corrupt to *benefit himself*, as opposed to being corrupt for *the benefit of the people who installed him in power*

      1. Its basically the same as “mafia ethics”

        When Jimmy the Goombah runs a scam with the local waste hauler, over-charging the city millions for trash collection, he doesn’t get busted because he was “corrupt”, he gets busted because he didn’t cut the political bosses in on the action.

        And vice-versa. You get busted because you were looking out for yourself, instead of your people.

    2. And said with a straight face?

    3. my response was “No they don’t, but that doesn’t have anything to do with them breaking the law.”

  11. Ohio cop charged with murder. Update on an article I posted when it happened.

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/29/…..index.html

  12. Britney be milfen

    http://m.eonline.com/news/6801…..topstories

  13. Yet another (D) next to an indictment.

    It’s a criminal enterprise.

    1. Nah, the allegations are just blatant racism. Philly has seen such injustices before:

      http://articles.philly.com/201…..n-kane-ali

      Thankfully in that case, the benevolent Pennsylvania AG realized that the former AG (and current governor at the time) was a horrible teathuglican, who just targeted folks because of their skin color.

  14. I am curious why they singled out Jango Fett (or whatever his name is) for prosecution. Maybe he said something critical about Obama or Hillary?

  15. Just the normal PA political corruption in here. Hey, we once had two Speakers of the House occupy the same jail cell for a week!

    Philly D politics is as rotten as they come. A bunch of Philly state lawmakers were recently nabbed for vote selling by a fake lobbyist. And it was for little amounts–one or two grand at a pop, each. They cheated for peanuts. Dummies

    1. “”They cheated for peanuts.”

      I wouldn’t look at it that way. Its a buyers market. The prices vary wildly based on demand. And there’s zero ‘costs’ – they already won the election. Once in office, the game is to make as much $ as possible from your position, and if that means selling some votes for below-market-rate, well so be it. There’s always another vote after that.

      1. …also, think of the worst possible option = not ‘dealing’ at all!

        Imagine that pol got a reputation for being ‘un-buyable’, or even just a hard-sell? Demand for his services might plummet.

    2. The write says someone that worked in Ed Rendell’s mayoral administration got indicted too. I wonder if there’s something that will stick to Fast Eddie in there. Nah… Fast Eddie is too well connected.

    3. I doubt there is any Philly congressman, state representative, mayor, city council member, district attorney, judge, police officer, housing inspector, or meter maid who is not corrupt.

      It ‘s just the Philly way where bribes and payoffs are the system of government, and corruption is accepted and expected.

      I would only be shocked if Chaka Fattah was not guilty of the charges.

  16. OT:

    The Department of Defense (DOD) has paid $29 per gallon for “alternative fuel” that is nearly nine times the cost of cheaper petroleum fuel options, costing taxpayers a total of $58.6 million, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

    http://freebeacon.com/national…..tive-fuel/

    Maybe dollars would be a cheaper “alternative fuel”

    1. *sigh*

      Years ago, I read a report by the Marine brass talking about utilizing ‘renewable’ technologies on the battlefield – and it makes sense, when diesel can be $50/gal at the point of use (taking into account transport costs) – solar cells, more efficient power generation tech, better insulation for tents, stuff like that.

      But all that seems to have really happened from this initiative is that the services put solar cells on the top of buildings *in the US* and go out of their way to get LEEDS certs on new construction – all of which raise up front costs and *still* end up with a negative ROI over 20-30 years.

      1. The US Navy had to flat out *ban* biodiesel use – so many officers get that itch to get something on their FitRep that they jump on the cheaper fuel so they can claim cost savings – and then see those savings eaten up by increased equipment maintenance. Biodiesel is a bit corrosive and eats through tanks and piping if it sits for a long time – and it will in a boat or ship.

  17. It took indictments involving cash hidden in freezers for former Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) to lose his bid for re-election, to a Republican that lost two years later. In one-party cities like Philadelphia or New Orleans, the primary systems are often one party within one party too, with figures like Fattah not just slipping under the radar of the democratic process, but thriving on it.

    1. hmm my actual comment was cut off.

      I had stated that in a sense the corruption was the fault of the Republican party by not being competitive in urban centers.

      But are there any countries where local urban politics is competitive?

      In Britain it is not (London Mayor Boris Johnson withstanding)

  18. The public expects their elected officials to act with honesty and integrity,” said U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

    Zane, quit your day job and go on the standup comedy circuit.

  19. Facing corruption charges, Rep. Chaka Fattah asks public to help pay his legal fees
    http://www.philly.com/philly/n…..qus_thread

  20. What part of the 2nd Amendment do these idiots not understand. The Federal government can not make any law denying the people’s right to keep and bear arms. Cities and States have some latitude but often overstep their authority. The Constitution was written to keep the government from becoming corrupt but unfortunately that is the nature of government. Until you stop electing lawyers and establish term limits there is little hope for this country. Go back to the original form of the Constitution where only property owners can vote (maybe change to taxpayers) and senators are appointed not elected. One one other law that would help is any elected offical accepting anything even dinner from a lobbyist both would be stripped of their citizenship and booted out of this country. As far as gun violence one law would stop most of it. If you use a gun in the commission of crime against another person then upon conviction you will be immediately put to death. No exceptions period

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