Fattah to Media: Focus on the Good I Do, Not Federal Investigation

Chaka Fattah gave a 22-minute interview, but refused to directly address the allegations made against "Elected Official A" in a federal plea deal.

Chaka Fattah

Chaka Fattah spoke to reporters for 22 minutes Monday, and gave one of the best types of interviews a politician can ever give: One about how great he is! These are just the best.

Fattah wouldn’t touch on the federal case swirling around him. In a plea deal with Gregory Naylor, federal prosecutors said “Elected Official A” — widely reported to be Fattah — obtained an illegal campaign loan. Fattah has denied illegal conduct before, and did so again on Monday. But he wouldn’t answer any questions during his session: “There’s no question that I can answer in which you’re not going to have another hundred questions.” As Philly Mag’s Patrick Kerkstra tweeted: “Um yeah.”

He added he wouldn’t address allegations made by people “who have been waking up every morning for seven years trying to figure out how to say that maybe I had done something wrong.”

Fattah noted there has yet to be a “fully formed accusation” against him, and he’s right. But, in the deal with Naylor — who admitted helping set up what prosecutors say was an illegal loan — Elected Official A is accused of funneling federal grant funds through two charities he set up that help schoolchildren to pay debts from the 2007 mayor’s race and misusing money to help his son pay college debt. Chaka Fattah Jr. is facing fraud and tax charges and is suing the IRS.

But Fattah says we should focus on the good, per the Inquirer:

In the seven years of the investigation, Fattah said, 12 million families have benefited from tuition tax credits, $8 billion has been provided for foreclosure relief, and four million children have received teaching in robotics — all, he said, as a result of his work. Another 13 million have benefitted through GEAR UP, a college preparation program he helped create.

“Do you think it’s humanly possible that I could be the father of all these children?” Fattah asked, taking a swipe at the notion that he improperly helped his son. Asked if it was possible to help students but still misuse public money, Fattah replied: “Is it possible that The Inquirer could write a newspaper and make a mistake?”

Fattah says he plans to be in office for another 10 years. That would mean Michael Nutter wouldn’t be likely to replace him.