Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Penn.) convicted of multiple counts of racketeering and bribery

There was a time when you could see Rep. Chaka Fattah almost every day on cable news, especially MSNBC, as a spokesman for the Democrats, the Congressional Black Caucus, and the black left.  But now that he has been convicted of multiple felonies in federal district court, the mainstream media have almost no interest in him, and the phrase "culture of corruption" is nowhere to be heard.

His local newspaper reports at

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.) was convicted Tuesday on federal racketeering and bribery charges, putting an ignominious stamp on the career of one of the region's longest-serving members of Congress and all but ensuring that his public life will be capped with a prison sentence.

The specific charges Rep. Fattah was convicted of reveal venality of the highest order:

The verdict came after four weeks of testimony in which prosecutors painted the congressman as an arrogant lawbreaker who repeatedly turned to the money of others - taxpayers, charities, wealthy fund-raisers - to cover his personal and political debts. (snip)

Chief among his crimes - according to prosecutors Eric Gibson, Paul Gray, and Jonathan Kravis - was his theft of funds from an education nonprofit to repay an illegal $1 million campaign loan. (snip)

Fattah was also found guilty of misdirecting federal grant money to a fake nonprofit in order to pay one of his political strategists, and was convicted of siphoning funds from his campaign coffers to cover college debts owed by his son. (snip)

The case's most colorful charges involved a bribery scheme between Fattah and [former Philadelphia deputy mayor Herbert] Vederman, 70, one of his most prolific fund-raisers.

Through cash payments to the congressman's children, college tuition payments for his South African au pair, and $18,000 given to help purchase a vacation home in the Poconos, prosecutors said, Vederman bought Fattah's support in seeking appointment by the Obama White House to an ambassadorship.

In other words, Fatah lived large and ripped off taxpayers, charities, and anybody else whose money he could grab.  And his family members were not at all different:

His wife, former NBC10 news anchor Renee Chenault-Fattah, though not charged in the case, saw her career end this year after she was linked to the sham sale in 2012 of her Porsche convertible - a transaction prosecutors said was intended to cover up a bribe to her husband.

And his son, Chaka "Chip" Jr., was sentenced to five years in prison in February in a bank and tax fraud case tied to loans he fraudulently obtained to fund a luxury lifestyle.

But while the younger Fattah's crimes stemmed from his extravagant taste in fancy cars, clothes, and apartments, most of the congressman's misdeeds centered on money he owed creditors after a disastrous 2007 bid to become mayor of Philadelphia.

Fattah has not resigned his seat, though he did lose the Democratic primary, and will not be re-elected.  Nancy Pelosi has not made any comments about expelling him or demanding his resignation.

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