Newspaper article Roll Call

CBC Chairman: Charges against Chaka Fattah 'Very Serious'

Newspaper article Roll Call

CBC Chairman: Charges against Chaka Fattah 'Very Serious'

Article excerpt

Within 24 hours of being slapped with a 29-count indictment, Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., voluntarily relinquished his ranking member position on an appropriations subcommittee and resigned as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Board of Directors.

Both actions were appropriate, said Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G.K. Butterfield -- and, he suggested, necessary.

"He's a good friend, a good colleague, a very talented man who has done a lot for his constituents," the North Carolina Democrat told CQ Roll Call on Thursday. "But he's facing a crisis in his life, and nothing right now should compete with his crisis. So my advice to him would be to face these charges and listen to his lawyer and get ready to defend himself."

These were Butterfield's first public remarks on the matter since the news broke Wednesday that, after a years-long federal investigation, Fattah would face over two dozen allegations of racketeering, conspiracy, bribery and wire fraud in connection with his failed 2007 campaign for mayor of Philadelphia.

"Yesterday I kept my mouth shut because I needed to collect all the facts," Butterfield explained. "I needed to read the summary of the indictment, I wanted to talk to my colleagues about it, because I didn't want to be irresponsible, making a statement I would later regret.

"But I have considered," Butterfield continued. "I have considered it overnight. …

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