Longtime House Democrat charged with racketeering, accepting bribes

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The Justice Department on Wednesday indicted longtime Democrat Rep. Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania on racketeering charges, following a years-long probe into the funding of his unsuccessful bid for Philadelphia mayor in 2007.

Fattah said Wednesday that due to the charges, he will temporarily step down from from his position as top Democrat on the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the Department of Justice and other agencies. Fattah, 58, was elected to Congress in 1994.

In a scathing statement, Justice Department officials accused Fattah of illegally steering to his campaign war chest $1 million in funds borrowed from a wealthy donor, and disguising the money as a loan to a consulting company.

Officials said Fattah then tried to pay back the money using sham contracts and falsifying accounting entries.

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