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Democrat

Rep. Chaka Fattah (D)

Chaka Fattah Contact
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Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-225-4001

Address: 2301 RHOB, DC 20515

State Office Contact Information

Phone: (215) 871-4455

Address: 2401 North 54th Street, Philadelphia PA 19131-2423

Chaka Fattah Staff
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Sort by INTEREST NAME TITLE
Anderson Lee, Michelle
Director of Appropriations
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Anderson Lee, Michelle
Director of Appropriations
Anderson Lee, Michelle
Director of Appropriations
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Anderson Lee, Michelle
Director of Appropriations
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Bass, Jared
Legislative Assistant
Anderson Lee, Michelle
Director of Appropriations
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Spewak, Sylvie
Special Assistant
Anderson Lee, Michelle
Director of Appropriations
Anderson Lee, Michelle
Director of Appropriations
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Bass, Jared
Legislative Assistant
Bass, Jared
Legislative Assistant
Anderson Lee, Michelle
Director of Appropriations
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Bass, Jared
Legislative Assistant
Bass, Jared
Legislative Assistant
Bass, Jared
Legislative Assistant
Anderson Lee, Michelle
Director of Appropriations
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Bass, Jared
Legislative Assistant
Bass, Jared
Legislative Assistant
Spewak, Sylvie
Special Assistant
Bass, Jared
Legislative Assistant
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Anderson Lee, Michelle
Director of Appropriations
Anderson Lee, Michelle
Director of Appropriations
Anderson Lee, Michelle
Director of Appropriations
Anderson Lee, Michelle
Director of Appropriations
Anderson Lee, Michelle
Director of Appropriations
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Anderson Lee, Michelle
Director of Appropriations
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Bass, Jared
Legislative Assistant
Bass, Jared
Legislative Assistant
Anderson Lee, Michelle
Director of Appropriations
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Bass, Jared
Legislative Assistant
Anderson Lee, Michelle
Director of Appropriations
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Bass, Jared
Legislative Assistant
Bass, Jared
Legislative Assistant
Anderson Lee, Michelle
Director of Appropriations
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Anderson Lee, Michelle
Director of Appropriations
Bass, Jared
Legislative Assistant
Anderson Lee, Michelle
Director of Appropriations
Bass, Jared
Legislative Assistant
Anderson Lee, Michelle
Director of Appropriations
Anderson, Debra
Deputy Chief of Staff
Bass, Jared
Legislative Assistant
Bowser, Bonnie
District Chief of Staff
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Collins, Rashid
Constituent Services Representative
Douglas, Ashley
Scheduler; Special Assistant
Freeman, Allyson
Communications Director
Jackson, Roger
Chief of Staff
Reavis, Sonte
Chief Counsel
Scott, Greg
Congressional Aide
Spewak, Sylvie
Special Assistant
Watson, Tia
Constituent Services Representative
Scott, Greg
Congressional Aide
Bowser, Bonnie
District Chief of Staff
Jackson, Roger
Chief of Staff
Freeman, Allyson
Communications Director
Reavis, Sonte
Chief Counsel
Anderson, Debra
Deputy Chief of Staff
Anderson Lee, Michelle
Director of Appropriations
Bass, Jared
Legislative Assistant
Chainey, Brenden
Legislative Director
Collins, Rashid
Constituent Services Representative
Watson, Tia
Constituent Services Representative
Douglas, Ashley
Scheduler; Special Assistant
Douglas, Ashley
Scheduler; Special Assistant
Spewak, Sylvie
Special Assistant
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Chaka Fattah Committees
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Chaka Fattah Biography
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  • Elected: 1994, 10th term.
  • District: Pennsylvania 2
  • Born: Nov. 21, 1956, Philadelphia
  • Home: Philadelphia
  • Education:

    Community Col. of Philadelphia, U. of PA, M.A. 1986, Harvard U. Kennedy Schl. of Gov., 1984

  • Professional Career:

    Asst. dir., House of Umoja, 1977-79; City of Philadelphia, Spec. asst. to dir. of Housing & Community Dev., 1980, Spec. asst. to managing director, 1981.

  • Political Career:

    PA House of Reps., 1982–88; PA Senate, 1988–94.

  • Ethnicity: Black/African American
  • Religion:

    Baptist

  • Family: Married (Renee Chenault-Fattah); 4 children

Chaka Fattah, a Democrat first elected in 1994, has a more nationally-oriented focus than Rep. Robert Brady, the city’s other congressman. Fattah works on housing, education, and other urban-centric issues while persistently championing a bill that would abolish the income tax and replace it with a levy on all financial transactions. Read More

Chaka Fattah, a Democrat first elected in 1994, has a more nationally-oriented focus than Rep. Robert Brady, the city’s other congressman. Fattah works on housing, education, and other urban-centric issues while persistently championing a bill that would abolish the income tax and replace it with a levy on all financial transactions.

Chaka Fattah (SHOCK-ah Fu-TAH) was born Arthur Davenport, one of six children of a poor single mother in Philadelphia. She changed his name after she married community activist David Fattah; his first name was taken from a Zulu warrior. His parents were both politically active, producing a magazine for African-Americans and opening their home as a neighborhood gathering spot for teens at risk of joining street gangs. Fattah dropped out of high school, but later got an equivalent diploma and went on to earn a master’s degree in government administration at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1982, at age 25, he was elected to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, at the time its youngest member ever. Six years later, he was elected to the state Senate.

In 1991, Democratic Rep. William Gray, the powerful House majority whip, resigned to become head of the United Negro College Fund. In the special election to succeed him, local Democratic ward leaders nominated Councilman Lucien Blackwell, a former longshoreman and labor union stalwart. Fattah ran under the Consumer Party label while state Welfare Secretary John White ran as an independent. Blackwell won with 39% to 28% for Fattah and 27% for White.

In 1994, Fattah ran again, this time taking on the Democratic establishment in the primary. Blackwell relied mostly on ward politicians. Fattah was endorsed by the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity. This time Fattah won, 58%-42%. He has had no serious primary or general election challenges since. Fattah’s wife, Renee Chenault-Fattah, is a local television news anchor in Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has called the liberal Fattah “a policy wonk with savvy.” He occasionally shows his independence from his party; he was one of just 22 Democrats to support a failed 2011 amendment to implement a budget based on the recommendations of the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction commission. He has focused on education and worked on the “Gear Up” program to prepare low-income students for college, although in 2007, the Philadelphia Daily News reported that the program had limited effectiveness for local kids, and the city’s schools phased it out.

His “Debt Free America Act” would eliminate the federal tax code and replace all individual and corporate taxes with a system that would tax all individual transactions, an idea that generated some interest among Republicans. But most Democrats are leery of anything that looks like a consumption tax, and his bill has not moved in several sessions of Congress. It did, however, become the subject of an Internet rumor in 2010 that the Obama administration was behind it as part of a plot to take money from Social Security recipients. Fattah got a provision into the 2010 financial overhaul law to provide mortgage relief for the unemployed that was based on a program he developed when he was a state Assembly member. To end the periodic wrangling over raising the federal debt limit, he introduced a bill in January 2013 giving the administration the power to raise the limit without having to go through Congress.

Fattah also has used his post on the Appropriations Committee to secure money to curb witness intimidation in Philadelphia, to combat the use of unsafe blood supplies that transmit HIV/AIDS in Africa, and to increase the number of minorities working on defense programs. He also started an initiative in 2012 to have federal agencies cooperatively examine the future of neuroscience research. He sought to become Appropriations’ top Democrat in 2010, but lost a 26-18 vote of the leadership-run Democratic Steering Committee to Norm Dicks of Washington, who had more seniority. Fattah settled for the ranking Democratic post on the subcommittee funding the Commerce and Justice departments and science programs.

Fattah ran and lost a campaign for Philadelphia mayor in 2007. The move prompted grumbling among local Democrats planning to run for mayor that he was giving up his clout as an appropriator, and even some threats that Fattah would face a primary challenge for his House seat. Also in the crowded mayoral primary was Brady, of the neighboring 1st District, former City Councilman Michael Nutter, and wealthy businessman Thomas Knox. Fattah began the race as the front-runner, but his campaign struggled to raise money and drew criticism over his refusal to release his income tax returns. Nutter was the eventual winner with 37% of the vote, followed by Knox with 25%. Fattah finished fourth with 15%, less than 200 votes behind Brady, who also had 15%.

Fattah’s son, Chaka “Chip” Fattah Jr., was at the center of controversy in 2012 after news outlets reported that the FBI raided the younger Fattah’s home and consulting firm as part of an investigation of his company’s work for Delaware Valley High School, an alternative school in Philadelphia. Fattah Jr. later was the target of several lawsuits, including one alleging he had bounced $16,000 worth of checks at a casino. He was indicted in August 2014 as part of an alleged scheme to defraud banks and the Internal Revenue Service of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But that was only part of Rep. Fattah's troubles. Later that month, his longtime aide Gregory Naylor pleaded guilty to a scheme to obtain an illegal loan for a 2007 mayoral campaign and pay it back with federal grant money. Federal prosecutors didn't identify the candidate involved, but Philadelphia media outlets speculated that it was the congressman, and stories began appearing about what might happen if the issue drove Fattah from Congress. Fattah declined to discuss the issue, telling a local radio station: "The one thing is, I'm not a lawyer, I'm not going to engage in it. I'm not going to respond to an allegation that hasn't been made."

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Chaka Fattah Election Results
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2012 General
Chaka Fattah (D)
Votes: 318,176
Percent: 89.28%
Robert Mansfield (R)
Votes: 33,381
Percent: 9.37%
2012 Primary
Chaka Fattah (D)
Votes: 87,620
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (89%), 2008 (89%), 2006 (89%), 2004 (88%), 2002 (88%), 2000 (98%), 1998 (87%), 1996 (88%), 1994 (86%)
Chaka Fattah Votes and Bills
Back to top NJ Vote Ratings

National Journal’s rating system is an objective method of analyzing voting. The liberal score means that the lawmaker’s votes were more liberal than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The conservative score means his votes were more conservative than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The composite score is an average of a lawmaker’s six issue-based scores. See all NJ Voting

More Liberal
More Conservative
2013 2012 2011
Economic 91 (L) : - (C) 73 (L) : 26 (C) 72 (L) : 27 (C)
Social 87 (L) : 7 (C) 70 (L) : 29 (C) 80 (L) : - (C)
Foreign 85 (L) : 14 (C) 78 (L) : 21 (C) 78 (L) : 22 (C)
Composite 90.3 (L) : 9.7 (C) 74.2 (L) : 25.8 (C) 80.2 (L) : 19.8 (C)
Interest Group Ratings

The vote ratings by 10 special interest groups provide insight into a lawmaker’s general ideology and the degree to which he or she agrees with the group’s point of view. Two organizations provide just one combined rating for 2011 and 2012, the two sessions of the 112th Congress. They are the ACLU and the ITIC. About the interest groups.

20112012
FRC00
LCV9489
CFG219
ITIC-73
NTU1313
20112012
COC38-
ACLU-100
ACU00
ADA9080
AFSCME100-
Key House Votes

The key votes show how a member of Congress voted on the major bills of the year. N indicates a "no" vote; Y a "yes" vote. If a member voted "present" or was absent, the bill caption is not shown. For a complete description of the bills included in key votes, see the Almanac's Guide to Usage.

    • Pass GOP budget
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • End fiscal cliff
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Extend payroll tax cut
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Stop student loan hike
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Repeal health care
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Raise debt limit
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Pass cut, cap, balance
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Defund Planned Parenthood
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Repeal lightbulb ban
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Add endangered listings
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Speed troop withdrawal
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Regulate financial firms
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Pass tax cuts for some
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Stop detainee transfers
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Legalize immigrants' kids
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Repeal don't ask, tell
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Limit campaign funds
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Overturn Ledbetter
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass $820 billion stimulus
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Let guns in national parks
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass cap-and-trade
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Bar federal abortion funds
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass health care bill
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Bail out financial markets
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Repeal D.C. gun law
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2008
    • Overhaul FISA
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2008
    • Increase minimum wage
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Expand SCHIP
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Raise CAFE standards
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Share immigration data
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Foreign aid abortion ban
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Ban gay bias in workplace
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Withdraw troops 8/08
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • No operations in Iran
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Free trade with Peru
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
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The Almanac is a members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics. Comprehensive online profiles include biographical and political summaries of elected officials, campaign expenditures, voting records, interest-group ratings, and congressional staff look-ups. In-depth overviews of each state and house district are included as well, along with demographic data, analysis of voting trends, and political histories.
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