A long-standing US congressman was sentenced to spend a decade in prison for stealing public money and using it for personal gain.
It’s a shocking end to a political career once dedicated to helping the poor attain a better life in Philadelphia. Greed and abuse caught up to the politician many once admired for his public service.
One Philadelphia Democrat will be a tarnished historical note when he emerges from behind bars.
Former Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., said he is saddened to find himself in court for sentencing in his criminal case but grateful for the work he completed.
Fattah, 60, was sentenced Monday to 10 years for a racketeering scheme that included money laundering and bribery.
Fattah was a superdelegate for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary in the Keystone State.
U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle called the Philadelphia Democrat’s crimes “astonishing” given that he and his TV anchor wife had a $500,000 annual income that put them at or near the “top 1 percent.”
According to the jury, the now-ousted congressman took an illegal $1 million loan to prop up a failed 2007 run for Philadelphia mayor. Fattah then repaid it with funds that included NASA grant money steered through an education nonprofit run by former staffers.
Prosecutors said he also used $27,000 in charity funds to pay down his son’s college loans and took an $18,000 bribe to help a friend become an ambassador.
Fattah believes he served others when he told Bartle he “helped tens of millions of people” during his 37-year political career that focused on housing, education and other programs for his low-income district.
He said he’s sorry the jury “found him on the wrong side of these questions.” He apologized to the four aides and friends convicted with him.
His lawyers plan to appeal the 18-count conviction. Fattah insists the Justice Department racketeering case is politically motivated.
The judge is allowing Fattah until next month to report to prison.
Fattah has a few days of freedom before he faces a decade to ponder his ill-gotten means.
Why anyone with that much income and influence would stoop to basic criminal behavior is bewildering.
Any and all good he once did while in service to the public will be forever be tainted because he failed to uphold the integrity of his position as public servant.
h/t: The Washington Post