September 09, 2015
U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, amid federal corruption charges, is asking you to help pay for his legal defense.
The Democratic lawmaker representing Philadelphia's 2nd Congressional District was indicted in July, along with four associates, of participating in schemes to misappropriate hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign, federal, and charitable funds.
Fattah, who is up for reelection in 2016, has launched a new website called Fattah2016.com. On the homepage, supporters are asked to donate to his court fees:
The Preservation of Public Service Legal Trust will ensure that I have the best people and resources necessary to defend my name and my good works in Congress on behalf of the citizens of the Second Congressional District.
When you click to donate to the "Fattah 2016: The Preservation of Public Service Legal Trust," you're given varying donation amount options between $25 and $5,000, or you can write in a custom amount.
The site stresses that "any individual, organization, business, corporation, or PAC may contribute," however, lobbyists are not allowed to give.
According to Politico, Fattah's legal costs are expected to climb quite a bit:
On his most recent filing with the Federal Election Commission, Fattah reported paying $35,000 in legal bills. He also reported legal debts of more than $57,000. Fattah's legal bills are expected to dramatically increase following his indictment.
Among the 29 counts against him and his associates are charges of racketeering conspiracy, bribery, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The alleged incidents detailed in the indictment include using campaign funds to pay his son's student loan debts and trading political favors to erase his own debt.
Fattah has claimed innocence since the indictment. Earlier this month, he failed to suppress a search warrant that would give investigators access to his private emails.
Visitors to the site are also asked to donate to his reelection bid, citing his record on issues such as education and criminal justice reform.