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Ethics panel to investigate Fattah allegations

WASHINGTON – The House Ethics Committee is planning to open its own investigation into the allegations surrounding Rep. Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.).

The panel announced Monday that it has voted to create an investigative subcommittee to examine whether he violated the House code of conduct or other rules in the actions described in the 85-page racketeering and conspiracy indictment released last week.

Under House rules, investigative panels look into allegations of wrongdoing. They can recommend reprimands or censures to the full committee.

Federal prosecutors have accused Fattah of using campaign funds, charities he founded and federal grants to bankroll a failed 2007 Philadelphia mayoral bid, and funnel money to family members and political allies. Fattah has repeatedly said he has followed the law, and he vowed to cooperate "in any and every way" with the ethics committee.

"I have nothing to hide and have never participated in any actions or activities to dishonor the House throughout my 20-plus years of service," he said in a statement released by his office.

The Ethics Committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to create the panel, its release said. The committee is chaired by Lehigh Valley Rep. Charlie Dent (R., Pa.) and includes Rep. Pat Meehan (R., Pa.), a former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The subcommittee will be led by Rep. Susan Brooks (R., Ind.). The other members are Rep. Yvette Clarke (D., N.Y.), John Katko (R., N.Y.) and Janice Hahn (D., Calif.). Such panels have subpoena power, but typically do their work in secret.

"No other public comment will be made on this matter except in accordance with committee rules," Monday's announcement said.

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