FOX 29 Investigates Looks At History Of Chaka Fattah Probe

The indictment of Congressman Chaka Fattah comes after information unearthed by the press and reported in the fall of 2013, when FOX 29 Investigates had an animated, on-camera talk with the Philadelphia Democrat about a document we obtained.

It was a subpoena issued by federal investigators seeking records held by the city of Philadelphia. It was broad, demanding: "…any and all records pertaining to city property tax assessed to properties owned by Chaka Fattah Sr. from Jan. 1, 2008 through the present."

The three names on the document: Fattah's; his wife, Renee Chenault, a local TV news anchor; and Richard J. Haig, an FBI special agent.

And it requested bills, invoices, receipts, copies of cancelled checks and even correspondence between the congressman and the city.

Back in 2013, Fattah had come to town to speak about education. We showed up to ask about the subpoena.

"What can you tell me about what appears to be a grand jury subpeona for your tax records here in the City of Philadelphia, Congressman?" FOX 29 Investigative Reporter Jeff Cole asked. "What can you tell me about it?"

"Well, I can’t add anything to it other than to say that I’m the senior congressman, and any activities I’m involved in are appropriate for review, and I assume any review will be appropriate,” Fattah said.

Fattah seemed unconcerned at the time. His attorney, Luther Weaver, said he’d been hired by Fattah in the summer of that year and claimed the feds had been investigating the congressman for years.

Fattah echoed that claim: "Well, it’s important to note that these are matters that have been being reviewed since, as best as I know, since 2007."

"The federal government's been looking at you since 2007?" Cole asked.

"And we are sure they that are doing it appropriately. And, you know, when you are in a public role, it’s to be expected," Fattah said.

But last August a guilty plea by a political consultant close to Fattah nudged the probe even closer to the congressman.

Some of the admissions made in that plea, while not naming Fattah, appear to be listed as charges in his indictment.

Two years ago, Fattah called the probe a "review" and said it was "not abnormal" for members of congress to be looked at.

Fattah finished by saying, "If a fire alarm has been pulled, it’s perfectly warranted for the fire company to come. But that does not discern that there’s an actual fire."

In public statements, the congressman remained confident after Wednesday's indictment came down.

But in 2013, when we asked him about his wife's name appearing in the supboena's request for documents he grew upset.

"Congressman, your wife's name is on the document, as is her Social Security number, as well, and they're looking at records that relate directly to her. Why would that be?" Cole asked.

"Well, I don't believe that's the case, other than the fact she's my wife," Fattah answered. "And I don't know why you would ever bring in my family."

Cole replied, "Congressman, I have the letter. Would you like to see it? Are you claiming that I'm not telling you something truthful?"

"I don't want to see anything. I'm going to let you go," Fattah said that day.

Chenault-Fattah, while not named in Wednesday's indictment or charged, is identified as "Person E."

Prosecutors allege an $18,000 payment from a lobbyist helped the couple qualify for a mortgage for a Poconos vacation home, and the payment was "falsely styled" as the sale of her Porsche back to him. The FBI found that car in the couple's garage more than two years later.

Chenault-Fattah did not immediately return a call for comment. NBC 10 reports she is on leave.

On the phone Wednesday afternoon, the congressman's son, Chaka Fattah Jr., known as "Chip," refused to make detailed comments but did say that any money he received in the schemes alleged in the indictment he earned, Cole reported.

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