That's Soooo Demoçrat
U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah holds his future in his own hands - for now.
Fattah, convicted Tuesday on federal charges including racketeering and bribery, is facing a potentially lengthy prison term when he is sentenced Oct. 4.
Until then, the 11-term Philadelphia Democrat remains a member of the 114th U.S. Congress, though House rules prohibit him from voting on legislation or participating in committee proceedings.
In coming weeks and months, Fattah's colleagues could decide to expel him from the U.S. House. Or he could resign.
At the moment, Fattah is not sharing his plans.
"There is House protocol regarding issues of this matter and we will begin conversations in the coming days as dictated by the rules of Congress," Fattah said in a statement issued by his office.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, also kept his plans to himself. "I hope Congressman Fattah thinks about what the right thing to do is, and I'll have more to say about this later on," Ryan told reporters.
Article I of the U.S. Constitution gives the 435-member House the power to expel Fattah with a two-thirds vote. That would require 43 of Fattah's fellow Democrats to vote with all of the House's 247 Republicans.
Only five members of the U.S. House have been expelled in its history. The first three came in 1861 for supporting the Confederacy during the Civil War.
U.S. Rep. Michael Myers, a Philadelphia Democrat, was expelled in 1980 after his conviction in the federal "Abscam" bribery case. The last member expelled, in 2002, was U.S. Rep. James Traficant, an Ohio Democrat who had been convicted on bribery and racketeering charges.
Fattah, who lost his bid for a 12th term in the April 26 primary election to state Rep. Dwight Evans, could resign from office.
If that happened, Gov. Wolf would have to decide whether to call a special election, which likely would cost more than $150,000, based on Philadelphia reimbursement requests for recent special election costs.
Wolf, through a spokesman, declined to speculate about a special election because there is no vacancy in Fattah's Second District Congressional seat.
But, the spokesman said, the governor believes Fattah should resign.
If the congressman resigned Wolf would have to call a special election within 10 days of Fattah's resignation. It would have to be held at least 60 days after Wolf's called for an election..
So if Fattah resigned on Thursday and Wolf set the special election the same day, the earliest it could be held would be Tuesday, Aug. 23.
The House would be deep into its summer recess by then and is scheduled to work just a few weeks in September before going on break again for the general election.
The winner of a special election for Fattah's seat would immediately become a member of the U.S. House, finishing the last four and a half months of his final term.
Former Gov. Ed Rendell, speaking on 1210 WPHT (1210-AM) Wednesday morning, said Fattah should resign, but added that such a move would have little impact on the office.
"Normally, you'd want him to resign so we could get another replacement in," Rendell said. "It's hardly worth the effort having a special election."
Little of legislative significance is expected to happen in the House before the Nov. 8 general election. That will be followed by a "lame duck" seven weeks of session.
If Fattah remains in office, his staff in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia could continue to provide constituent services.
It is not clear if Fattah, who collects an annual House salary of $174,000, can afford to resign.
His campaign account has been depleted for years by legal bills.
His wife, former news anchor Renee Chenault-Fattah, parted ways with NBC10 in February. She had been on leave since Fattah's indictment last July. That 85-page indictment listed Chenault-Fattah as "Person E" and described her as an "affiliate of the Fattah enterprise" in a scheme to falsely report the 2012 sale of her 1989 Porsche Carrera to lobbyist Herb Vederman, who was convicted of racketeering, bribery, bank fraud and money laundering with Fattah on Tuesday.
Fattah's most recent financial disclosure form, filed May 16, showed that he and his wife have two mortgages on their home in East Falls along with a deed of trust to a secure a loan. Real estate documents show that the mortgages total at least $311,000. The deed of trust, records show, is to secure a $400,000 loan taken out in 2011.
According to Fattah's financial disclosure forms, he and his wife also have a mortgage of at least $250,000 on a Delaware riverfront home on a nearly-five acre lot in the Poconos town of Shohola that they purchased for $425,000 in 2012.
If imprisoned, he could share a cell with his son, who served a prison term for similar reasons.
Re: That's Soooo Demoçrat
You mean Denny Hastert the gay guy that they found out had abused some of his young male students? Hell, if he was a Democrat, you`d be wanting us to bake him a damned cake!