WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) — Democratic Rep. Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania offered his resignation from the House effective immediately following his conviction on charges of racketeering, fraud and money laundering.
In his initial resignation letter, the congressman advised that he would remain in office until October 3, 2016.
On Thursday morning, Fattah released the following statement regarding the change. It read in part:
“In my previous letter I indicated a later resignation date in order to provide for an orderly transition of my office after 21 years of service in the house. However, out of respect for the entire House Leadership, and so as not to cause a distraction from the House’s work for the people, I have changed my effective date.”
On Wednesday night, Fattah’s initial statement read:
“Earlier today I submitted my resignation from Congress to the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. In that letter, I indicated an effective date of October 3, 2016. This date was selected in order to provide enough time to ensure the proper transmission of information and archiving of government documents after more than two decades in service.
With that said, in further consultation with House Leadership, we are working to identify an agreeable timeframe which will relieve the House of any distractions in carrying out the people’s business. I hold the institution of the Congress of the United States in the highest regard and am thankful for the privilege to have served.”
But House Speaker Paul Ryan called on Fattah to resign immediately.
In a statement late Wednesday, Ryan said the veteran Pennsylvania lawmaker had betrayed the trust of the House and his constituents. Ryan said he hoped Democratic leaders would join him in calling for Fattah’simmediate resignation.
The congressman was convicted Tuesday in a racketeering case that largely centered on efforts to repay an illegal $1 million campaign loan.
His lawyers had argued that the schemes were engineered without Fattah’s knowledge by two political consultants who pleaded guilty in the case.
The 59-year-old Democrat had been in Congress since 1995. But he lost his April primary and his bid for another term.
In a letter to Ryan, Fattah outlined accomplishments he produced in the House and wrote: “I’m very sad about the verdict the jury rendered yesterday and because of that, my resignation is effective Oct. 3, 2016. Despite my resignation I am working to clear my name of these charges and plan to mount an appeal.”
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