Whether incumbent Chaka Fattah or challenger Dwight Evans emerges with the most votes in the 2nd Congressional Democratic primary on Tuesday, the winner will be clear: influence peddling, corruption, and politics-as-usual.
Eleven-term incumbent Fattah now faces a 29-count federal charge of racketeering and conspiracy for misusing federal funds and charitable donations to enrich himself. Corruption runs in the family: his son, Chaka Fattah Jr., is now serving five years on corruption charges, and his wife, former news anchor Renee Chenault Fattah, is under investigation for engineering a fake sale of her Porsche to a lobbyist. Challenger Dwight Evans is also no stranger to ethics issues. He funneled tens of millions of dollars to the Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation (OARC), which improperly used taxpayer funds and owes the city hundreds of thousands. He’s deployed Godfather-like tactics in bullying school officials on behalf of non-profits run by friends and political allies.
Due to this brazen corruption, the Inquirer declined to endorse either Fattah or Evans, choosing instead no-name Dan Muroff of Northwest Philly, who has little chance of emerging from the primary.
“The voters in the 2nd Congressional are being presented a false choice between an old corrupt face or a new one,” said Joe DeFelice, Chairman of the Philadelphia Republican Party. “Both Dwight Evans and Chaka Fattah have made careers out of influence-peddling and padding their own wallets over the interests of their constituents.”
Philadelphians are no strangers to ethics scandals from our electeds, whether it’s sitting State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, who is on trial for accepting thousands of dollars in cash from a fake lobbyist, or State Sen. Larry Farnese – being investigated by the FBI – paying off a political ally with campaign funds.
Luckily, voters in the 2nd Congressional District do have an opportunity to protest the extreme corruption of the Democratic candidates and restore accountability to the office of Congressional Representative. In November, pull the lever for Republican James Jones: business owner, veteran, and Republican contender in the district.