Chaka Fattah

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Chaka Fattah currently serves the Second Congressional district of Pennsylvania

Chaka Fattah has been a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the 2nd Congressional district of Pennsylvania, since 1995. (map)

Record and controversies

General information about important bills and votes for can be found in Congresspedia's articles on legislation. You can add information you find on how Chaka Fattah voted by clicking the "[edit]" link to the right and typing it in. Remember to cite your sources!

Iraq War

Fattah voted against the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.[1]

For more information see the chart of U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Iraq War.

Environmental record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal

Support for gun control

Fattah cosponsored H.R. 1022 (Assault Weapons Ban Reauthorization Act of 2007) on March 7, 2007.[2]

Main article: U.S. gun legislation

Reparations for Japanese Latin Americans

Fattah cosponsored The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act in the 110th Congress which would establish a commission that would determine the facts and circumstances involving the relocation, internment and deportation of Japanese Latin Americans.[3]

Main article: Redress for Japanese Latin Americans/ U.S. legislation#Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act of 2007


Born November 21, 1956 in Philadelphia, Fattah attended Overbrook High School and received an A.A. from Philadelphia Community College in 1976 and an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School in 1986. He was a Representative in the Pennsylvania General Assembly from 1983-1988 and a State Senator from 1983-1994.

Fattah is married to Renee Chenault-Fattah, a local Philadelphia television news broadcaster on WCAU-TV (NBC 10).

Congressional career

2006 elections

In 2006, Republicans nominated Michael Gessner to face Fatah in his November 2006 bid for reelection. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) [2] Fattah retained his seat.

2007 Philadelphia mayoral candidacy

Announces candidacy

In November 2006, just weeks after being reelected to Congress, Fattah declared that he would run for mayor of Philadelphia in 2007. He had been long suspected of being interested in running, but his announcement confirmed this and ended any speculation that he might decide to stay in Congress now that the Democrats had become the majority party. [3]

In the Democratic primary, Fattah was one of five candidates to run. The others were Rep. Bob Brady (D-Pa.), State Rep. Dwight Evans, businessman Tom Knox, and former city councilman Michael A. Nutter. The primary was set for May 15. Given that the city had not elected a Republican mayor since 1948, and that as of late January 2007 no Republican had declared his or her intentions to run in 2007, the primary winner was largely expected to be elected mayor. [4] [5]

Other members of Congress who sought the job of mayor in a large U.S. city had been unsuccessful in the preceding decade. Since 1993, each of the four House members who pursued the job were defeated. These included [6]:


During his campaign, Fattah stressed the issue of crime. Philadelphia recorded 403 murders in 2006, its highest total of the decade. Fattah promised to address crime through increased surveillance in the city, as well as new programs designed to reduce gun violence. (Read Fattah's gun safety plan)

Fattah also emphasized the need for greater government transparency during his campaign. He supported full funding for a city Board of Ethics, as well as ending "pay-to-play" politics (whereby public officials award lucrative government contracts and grant other favors to individuals, businesses, and organizations in exchange for political contributions). (Read Fattah's plan for greater government transparency)

Healthcare was another issue stressed by Fattah in the campaign. He called for providing every uninsured Philadelphian with an annual check-up, as well as a city-wide public health campaign to target one disease per month. (Read Fattah's healthcare plan)


On January 31, 2007, a Philadelphia Daily News Keystone poll was released by Franklin & Marshall College. It showed Fattah leading with 26%, followed by Knox (22%), Nutter (12%), Evans (10%), and Brady (8%). The poll was conducted the week in which Brady announced his candidacy, leading some to believe that his support was not fully reflected. Brady was the least known of the candidates to voters (50% had not heard of him). [7]

On April 5, a second Keystone poll was released showing that Knox had the support of 24% of Democratic voters, while Fattah (17%), Brady (16%), Nutter (12%), and Evans (10%) followed.[4]

Attendance in Congress

In January 2007, Fattah missed ten votes in the House (or 13.7% of all votes). By comparison, Rep. Brady, who was also running in the primary, missed three votes (or 4.1%). Fattah did not sponsor any legislation during this period. Brady, however, sponsored two bills. [8] [9]

As of April 6, 2007, Fattah had missed 24 votes (11.3%) since the start of the 110th Congress. He had long been known for having a poor attendence record in Congress, as he had missed 9.2% of all House votes since 1997 (compared to 4.2% chamber average).[5] [6]

As of May 15, the data of the primary election, Fattah had missed 141 votes (40.5%) in 2007. Only Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-Va.), who was battling a recurrence of breast cancer, had missed more.[7]

Campaign contribution limits

Fattah opposed Philadelphia's recently implemented limits on campaign contributions during his run for mayor. He, along with Brady, contended that they were unfair, for they curb one’s ability to fundraise, but allow individuals to spend unlimited funds on their own campaigns. As a result, Tom Knox (a multi-millionaire who pledged to spend up to $15 million on the race) was able to greatly outspend both Brady and Fattah in the race.[8]

Fattah challenged the law in court, but it was upheld on April 2, 2007. He then appealed the decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, asking it to expedite its decision. [9]

Ultimately, the contribution limits were upheld. [10]

Refuses to release income tax returns

Fattah was widely criticized for refusing to release his income tax returns; a decision he claimed was motivated by the fact that his wife (with whom he filed jointly) was a high-profile local news anchorwoman (Renee Chenault-Fattah) and wished to not release her salary.[10]

Violating Philadelphia campaign finance law

In April 2007, Fattah admitted to using $36,767 from his mayoral exploratory committee to fund his campaign; thus violating Philadelphia campaign finance law. Fattah said he would reimburse the exploratory committee, and eventually the money would go back to the individual donors. The expenses include:

  • $7,598 for his Web site;
  • $11,008.88 for his mayoral announcement event;
  • $14,645.46 for other announcement expenses, videos and photos;
  • $3,515 for office expenses.[11]

Losses Democratic primary

On May 15, 2007, Fattah was defeated in the Democratic primary election by former City Councilman Michael Nutter, who recorded 37% of the vote. Following Nutter was businessman Tom Knox (25%), Rep. Robert Brady (D-Pa.) (15%), Fattah, and PA State Rep. Dwight Evans (8%). [12]

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. <crpcontribdata>cid=N00001746&cycle=2006</crpcontribdata>

Links to more campaign contribution information for Chaka Fattah
from the Center for Responsive Politics' site.
Fundraising profile: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2006 election cycle Career totals


Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

  • House Committee on Appropriations
    • Subcommittee on Foreign Operations Export Financing and Related Programs
    • Subcommittee on Science State Justice and Commerce and Related Agencies


  • Fattah is a prominent member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the oldest intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans.

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on Chaka Fattah. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.

Articles and Resources


  1. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
  2. Thomas page on H.R. 1022
  4. Thomas Fitzgerald, "Knox takes the lead in primary, poll shows," Philadelphia Inquirer, April 6, 2007.
  5. Washington Post vote database
  6. Steve Goldstein, "Fattah vote record might be sand trap," Philadelphia Inquirer, March 26, 2007.
  7. Washington Post vote database
  8. Catherine Lucey and Bob Warner, "Court upholds city law limiting mayoral donations," Philadelphia Inquirer, April 3, 2007.
  9. Catherine Lucey and Bob Warner, "Court upholds city law limiting mayoral donations," Philadelphia Inquirer, April 3, 2007.
  10. Andrew Maykuth, "Given clearance, Fattah still won't show tax returns," Philadelphia Inquirer, March 30, 2007.
  11. Catherine Lucey, "Fattah campaign 'misbehaved,", April 18, 2007.
  12. [1], May 16, 2007.
  13. Project Vote Smart's Founding & Executive Board Member, Project Vote Smart, accessed November 12, 2008.



Local blogs and discussion sites


DC Office:
2301 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-3802
Phone: 202-225-4001
Fax: 202-225-5392
Web Email

District Office- Philadelphia 1:
4104 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: 215-387-6404
Fax: 215-387-6407

District Office- Philadelphia 2:
6632 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19119
Phone: 215-848-9386
Fax: 215-848-3884

Corresponding article on Wikipedia and Cause Caller. (If Cause Caller link does not work, pick from its list of senators and representatives.)

Current Office: U.S. House of Representatives
111th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

110th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

Committees: House Committee on Appropriations, House Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, House Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on Homeland Security, House Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on Commerce Justice Science and Related Agencies
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
November 8, 1994
First Took Current Office:
January 3, 1995
Next Election:
November 2, 2010
Term Ends:
Freshman Member?
Previous Political Work?
Pennsylvania State Senate, Pennsylvania House of Representatives,
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
1. 4104 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: 215-387-6404 / Fax: 215-387-6407
2. 6632 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119
Phone: 215-848-9386 / Fax: 215-848-3884

Campaign Contact:

Webform Email: / Email:

Campaign Offices:

Phone: / Fax:

Zip Code Affiliations:

Date of Birth: November 21, 1956