Chaka Fattah (shown on left), whose birth name is Arthur Davenport, represented Pennsylvania's Second District (mostly Philadelphia and its environs) from 1995 until Thursday, June 23 when he was forced to resign. It wasn't his idea. Fattah wanted to stay in office until the day before his sentencing on October 4, milking his position for every last penny.
A year ago July, he and four of his associates were indicted on federal charges for their roles in a racketeering and influence peddling conspiracy. On July 21 Fattah was convicted of all counts — 23 of them — including racketeering conspiracy, bribery, bank fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, making false statements to a financial institution, and falsification of records. The conspiracy revolved around a complex scheme to use federal grant money to pay off a $1 million loan Fattah received while running a failed campaign for mayor of Philadelphia in 2007. It accelerated over time and eventually involved grant payments of nearly $6 million, intended to assist various non-profit groups that went instead into the pockets of Fattah, his associates, and their allies.
In other words Fattah is a piece of work, but is a piker compared to a master plunderer, one Charles Rangel (shown on right). Rangel has been in office since 1971 and has learned, from hard but profitable experience, just how to milk the system. Rangel has "represented" New York's 13th Congressional District continuously, while doing very well for himself in the process. The pressure for him to resign has been building since 2008, when the House Ethics Committee launched its investigation into Rangel's failure to report (and pay taxes on) $75,000 of rental income he earned from property he owned in the Dominican Republic. In addition, the committee investigated his illegal renting of four subsidized apartments in New York City, paying less than half the going rate while claiming his Washington, D.C., home as his primary residence for tax purposes. The difference between what he paid for those apartments and the actual going rate amounted to some $30,000, violating House rules forbidding representatives from accepting gifts of more than $100.