Rep. Chaka Fattah Indicted, Steps Down as House CJS Subcommittee Ranking Member

Rep. Chaka Fattah Indicted, Steps Down as House CJS Subcommittee Ranking Member

Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA), the top Democrat on the House appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA and NOAA, stepped down from that position today after being indicted by the Justice Department for misuse of funds.  Fattah denied the charges.

In a statement, Fattah criticized an “eight year effort by some at the Department of Justice to link my public service career to some form of wrongdoing.  With today’s charges, this misguided campaign has now moved from speculation to specific allegations….I have never participated in any illegal activity or misappropriation of taxpayer dollars as an elected official.”

Rep. Chaka Fattah.   Photo Credit:  Fattah website.

The Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) subcommittee funds not only NASA and NOAA, but the Department of Justice.

Fattah said he was stepping aside as ranking member of the subcommittee in accordance with House rules and precedent, but will “proudly” continue to serve his constituents.

The Justice Department said he and four associates were charged in a 29-count indictment “involving bribery, concealment of unlawful campaign contributions and theft of charitable and federal funds to advance their own personal interests.”  

Fattah has been a reliable space program supporter during his tenure as ranking member of the CJS subcommittee.  The House already has passed its version of the FY2016 CJS appropriations bill, but Fattah ordinarily would have been a key member of conference negotiations with the Senate on a final version of the bill. 

Multiple media outlets report that he will be replaced by the next highest ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), whose district is near NASA’s Ames Research Center.   Honda himself is currently under scrutiny by the House Ethics Committee for an alleged violation of ethics rules regarding coordination between his official staff and his campaign staff.

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