Two nonprofits founded by Rep. Chaka Fattah (D., Pa) have been linked to the repayment of an illegal $1 million loan to Fattah's unsuccessful campaign for Philadelphia mayor in 2007.
Fattah's former aide, Gregory Naylor, has pleaded guilty in federal court to concealing the loan. Details from his plea deal claim that Fattah's nonprofits were used to repay the loan.
The congressman has not been charged in the case, and said last week he was never involved in any illegal activities during his time in office.
Fattah has extensively supported the two nonprofits and used taxpayer money to fund them. Their spending has been subject to scrutiny in the past. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:
The unfolding Naylor case is the one that has come closest to Fattah, though, and the first that suggests one of his favored charities was involved in criminal activity. It touches on two entities he has promoted for years: the Educational Advancement Alliance and CORE (College Opportunity Resources for Education). They are the "nonprofits 1 and 2" cited in the plea deal, The Inquirer has learned.
Naylor, in his plea deal, admitted his role in funneling federal dollars and charitable donations through the two groups, as well as private companies, in order to pay off a $1 million campaign loan Fattah received while running for mayor in 2007. The loan exceeded the city's $5,000 donation limit, prosecutors say.
Fattah is identified in the plea documents only as "Elected Official A," though the details describing the official make it clear that it is the congressman.
Both charities had received millions in earmarks thanks to Fattah:
CORE got $3.2 million in federal earmarks sponsored by the congressman in fiscal years 2009 and 2010, according to public data compiled by Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan group that tracks government spending.
The alliance received $12.1 million in fiscal 2008 and 2009 via Fattah's earmarks, the data show.
Millions more went to both groups in previous years, though earmarks have been put on hold in Congress since 2011.
Fattah's photo and a letter from him appear on the first page of CORE's latest annual report.
Linked together for funding purposes for several years, CORE and the alliance both drew attention from auditors and the FBI at least as early as 2008.