Ethics panel opens probe into indicted House Dem
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The House Ethics Committee is opening an investigation into whether Rep. Chaka FattahChaka FattahPhiladelphia Dem power broker indicted The year the party machines broke Jury convicts the son of Rep. Chaka Fattah MORE (D-Pa.) violated House rules related to the alleged bribery and money laundering charges for which he was indicted.

In a Monday evening announcement, the House Ethics Committee said it is establishing an investigative subcommittee a week after Fattah was indicted on more than a dozen federal charges stemming from his unsuccessful 2007 campaign for Philadelphia mayor.

Fattah, who has served in the House since 1995, and four associates were charged with 29 counts that included bribery, bank fraud and falsification of records. He could face prison time if convicted.


Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) will chair the investigative panel, while Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) will serve as the ranking Democrat. Reps. John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Janice Hahn (D-Calif.) will also serve on the subcommittee.

Fattah maintained his innocence while speaking with reporters in the Capitol last week on the day of his indictment.

His willingness to take reporters' questions at length stood in contrast to former lawmakers who faced legal problems while in office, such as ex-Reps. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) and Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), who avoided the press.

The Pennsylvania Democrat pledged to comply with the Ethics Committee probe.

"I will fully cooperate in any and every way to aid the Committee's investigation. I have nothing to hide and have never participated in any actions or activities to dishonor the House throughout my 20-plus years of service," Fattah said in a statement.

Fattah has also stepped down from his ranking member position on the House Appropriations subcommittee overseeing the Justice and Commerce Departments.

The Justice Department alleges that Fattah borrowed $1 million from a donor during his 2007 mayoral campaign and created a scheme to repay $600,000 using grants filtered through a nonprofit he ran.

In addition, the Justice Department charges that Fattah used mayoral and congressional campaign funds to pay off his son's student loan debts, totaling about $23,000.

The 11-term lawmaker said last week he plans to run for reelection despite the charges.

“I will be on the ballot in my district,” Fattah said.

This story was updated at 7:28 p.m.