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Philly Congressman Resigns After Racketeering Conviction

Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) leaves the federal courthouse in Philadelphia on June 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

WASHINGTON — Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) is leaving Congress in a cloud of scandal after being convicted on 23 counts of racketeering, fraud, and money laundering.

Fattah, who has served in the House since 1995, was already on the way out, having lost the Democratic primary to Pennsylvania statehouse member Dwight Evans.

He submitted a letter of resignation to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Wednesday expressing his intention to leave in October.

“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 in response. “We must hold members to the highest ethical standard, and I hope that Democratic leaders will join me in seeking his immediate resignation.”

Last night, the House voted to expel Fattah.

“Representative Chaka Fattah has abused his office as well as the trust granted to him by his constituents. Though his resignation is welcomed, it is improper for him to hold office any longer after being convicted of such crimes,” Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said. “This is why the House voted to expel him from office, so that the people of Pennsylvania’s 2nd district can elect a new representative.”

Fattah’s crimes centered around influence peddling, including, according to the indictment, trying to wipe away some $130,000 in campaign debt by agreeing to arrange for the award of federal grant funds to the political consultant.

He also reportedly poached from his campaign funds to pay off his son’s student loan debt.

Fattah handed in another letter to Ryan today resigning immediately, adding he was “honored to have had the privilege to serve.”

With his resignation, Hillary Clinton loses one superdelegate.