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Philadelphia Dem Rep. Indicted On Racketeering Charges

Rep. Fattah, 58, and four associates were charged with bribery; conspiracy to commit wire, honest services, bank and mail fraud; money laundering and other charges.
Philadelphia Dem Rep. Indicted On Racketeering Charges
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We've been hearing rumors for so long that some people didn't believe anything would happen. But it did, as we found out today. Fattah was an unsuccessful candidate in the Democratic mayoral primary in 2007 and this case is related to the debts he ran up then -- which is weird, because no one ever really understood why he was running in the first place. He's a decent enough Dem. He's also married to a prominent local news anchor (how they rationalized that, I'll never know). Via 6ABC.com:

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Longtime Philadelphia congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) was indicted Wednesday in a racketeering case stemming from the alleged misappropriation of hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal, charitable and campaign funds after his failed 2007 run for mayor.

Rep. Fattah, 58, and four associates were charged with bribery; conspiracy to commit wire, honest services, bank and mail fraud; money laundering and other charges.

Prosecutors said the charges covered several schemes, including the use of federal grants and charitable contributions to Fattah's educational foundation to pay back part of a $1 million loan from a wealthy campaign supporter and arranging a federal grant in lieu of a $130,000 payment to a political consultant.

According to U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger, the other four people charged are: Lobbyist Herbert Vederman, 69, of Palm Beach, Florida; Fattah's Congressional District Director Bonnie Bowser, 59, of Philadelphia; Robert Brand, 69, of Philadelphia; and Karen Nicholas, 57, of Williamstown, New Jersey

"The public does not expect their elected officials to misuse campaign funds, misappropriate government funds, accept bribes or commit bank fraud," Memeger said. "These type of criminal acts betray the public trust and undermine faith in government."

The congressman is also accused of using campaign funds to repay the student loan debt of his son, Chaka Fattah Jr.

"To execute this scheme, and to conceal it, Congressman Fattah and Bonnie Bowser arranged for his campaigns to make payments to a political consultant company, which in turn used the funds to satisfy a student loan that belonged to Congressman Fattah's son," Memeger said.

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