Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Penn, once one of the faces of the government’s mortgage relief efforts, said Thursday that he plans resign from the House of Representatives immediately after being convicted earlier this week on a host of fraud and corruption charges.
While in Congress, Fattah backed the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Emergency Homeowner Loan Program, but earlier this week, he and three of his associates were found guilty for their roles in a racketeering conspiracy that stemmed from Fattah’s failed 2007 campaign to serve as mayor of Philadelphia.
According to various reports, including Philly.com, Fattah initially planned to resign on Oct. 3, which is a day before he is expected to receive his sentence, but Fattah apparently reconsidered after Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-WI, offered a strong call for Fattah to resign.
“Mr. Fattah has betrayed the trust of this institution and the people of Pennsylvania, and for that he should resign immediately from the House of Representatives,” Ryan said Wednesday. “We must hold members to the highest ethical standard, and I hope that Democratic leaders will join me in seeking his immediate resignation.”
Fattah took Ryan’s suggestion, telling the Speaker in a letter dated June 23, 2016 that he intends to resign immediately rather than stay in office until October.
“Upon reflection, I hereby make official my resignation from the U.S. House of Representatives effective immediately,” Fattah said in his letter to Ryan.
“In my previous letter I indicated a later resignation date in order to provide for an orderly transition of my office after 21 years of service in the House,” Fattah continued. “However, out of respect for the entire House leadership, and so as not to cause a distraction from the House’s work for the people, I have changed my effective date.”
Fattah’s resignation closes a rapid fall from grace for one of the leaders of the government’s post-crisis mortgage relief efforts.
Fattah was one of the architects of the Emergency Homeowner Loan Program, a HUD program that set aside $1 billion to provide up to $50,000 in interest-free loans covering mortgage payments for up to 24 months for unemployed borrowers in the wake of the financial crisis.
The House voted to end the program in 2011, in spite of Fattah’s continued support.
Even if Fattah had not been convicted, his term in Congress was still nearing its end, as lost the April primary for his Congressional seat. If he had served his full term, Fattah’s time in Congress would have ended in December.
Instead, Fattah’s time in Congress is over now.
“None of my success in the Congress would have been possible without the bipartisan support of my colleagues; the hard and dedicated work of my staff; the votes of the citizens of the Second Congressional District; and the strong support of my family,” Fattah said in his letter to Ryan. “I am honored to have had the privilege to serve.”