Nearly a year after U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, a Philadelphia Democrat, was ominously described as “Elected Official A” in a former aide’s plea deal, federal prosecutors announced a sweeping indictment against the 11-term congressman and four associates, the Philadelphia Daily News reports. The bombshell 85-page indictment doesn’t charge Fattah with committing a mere crime or two, but rather with leading an entire criminal “enterprise” aimed at furthering his political and financial objectives and those of his co-conspirators. Among the charges: Racketeering, wire fraud, conspiracy, mail fraud, money laundering, falsification of records, honest-services fraud, bank fraud, and bribery.
“The public expects their elected officials to act with honesty and integrity,” said U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger. “The public does not expect their elected officials to misuse campaign funds, misappropriate government funds, accept bribes or commit bank fraud. These types of criminal acts betray the public trust and undermine faith in government.” The 29-count indictment alleges that Fattah and four others participated in a racketeering conspiracy, largely stemming from his failed 2007 Philadelphia mayoral bid. The indictment consists essentially of five alleged schemes. Fattah stepped down from his position as top Democrat on the House Appropriations panel that oversees the Justice Department budget, and said he was “confident that I will be cleared of these charges.”