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US Congressman Fattah Denies Racketeering Allegations

© Flickr / Stephen Melkisethian / United States Congress
United States Congress - Sputnik International
US Congressman Chaka Fattah claims he has never been part of any racketeering scheme nor misused taxpayer money.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US Congressman Chaka Fattah says he has never been part of any racketeering scheme nor misused taxpayer money, following charges brought by the US Justice Department earlier on Tuesday to him and four of his associates for abusing federal and charitable grant funds.

“As I have previously stated, I have never participated in any illegal activity or misappropriation of taxpayer dollars as an elected official,” Fattah said in a statement on Tuesday.

Fattah claimed the Justice Department’s allegations are part of an eight-year effort to tie his public service career “to some form of wrongdoing.”

“With today’s charges, this misguided campaign has now moved from speculation to specific allegations,” Fattah argued.

The indictment states that in 2007, while running for Philadelphia mayor, Fattah arranged repayment of $600,000 borrowed for the election campaign using charitable and federal grant funds, and also allegedly planned a scheme to repay $130,000 to a political consultant using money from a federal grant.

US Congressman Chaka Fattah Charged With Racketeering - Justice Department
Additionally, the indictment alleges that the Congressman used his mayor and congressional campaign funds to repay his son’s student loans worth $23,000.

Following the charges announcement, Fattah stepped down from his position as a ranking member of the House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee.

The US lawmaker, however, said that he was “confident” he would be cleared of the charges, and in the meantime would continue to serve his constituents.

The FBI and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation continue to probe the case.

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