Two years ago, the FBI raided the home of the son of Philadelphia Congressman Chaka Fattah: Chaka Fattah, Jr. Then: Nothing happened. No indictments. No fines. No charges. Nothing. There was, however, loads of media attention.
Now Chaka Fattah, Jr. is suing the DOJ, FBI and the IRS. As is always the case whether the case is opened or closed, the FBI won’t comment. But if actually bringing charges is their alternative form of communication, saying nothing is appropriate. To date, one could count on one hand the rare times the FBI has publicly admitted wrongdoing or a mistake in an investigative matter — even in the days of H. Edgar Hoover bugging Martin Luther King, Jr. in the midst of COINTELPRO.
In this case, all the raiding and digging and reporting and subpoenaing has led to nothing. To date, the case is reminiscent of a recent series of innuendos without indictment from the Department of Justice regarding District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray. Though there have been a long supply of inferences of Gray’s guilt connected to a bottomless four year investigation, there has been no indictment against the Mayor.
Earlier this month, Gray lost a primary challenge just as investigation rumors spiked. Still, no charges.
Chaka Fattah, Jr.’s suit claims that his reputation and business was irreparably damaged after the FBI and IRS raided his home on February 29, 2012 and served two subpoenas. The raid was in regard to alleged unpaid tax liabilities on Fattah’s consulting company. Fattah is claiming that the investigators told the press the subpoenas would be issued.
That claim would seem obvious. On the day Fattah Jr.’s home was raided, there just happened to be a Philadelphia Inquirer photographer present to take photos as investigators departed. The other big clue that the FBI likely tipped reporters is the never ending press references to Fattah Jr. “luxury” residence — an observation no federal employee is likely to miss and a detail that would likely make the public less sympathetic to Fattah Jr.’s case overall.
“It’s unfortunate, with all the hard work and time devoted to a positive reputation, that it was all taken away from me in a moment and even more over time as the media stories took on a viral effect,” Fattah Jr. told a local reporter this month.
“The Internal Revenue Service has never audited me, let alone sent more than two billing notices to me since I started earning an income in 2002 at the age of 19,” he added in an oped in the Inquirer on March 25.