U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, a Philadelphia Democrat, said a subpoena seeking documents from his congressional offices encroaches on the constitutional and legal rights of a congressman and he will fight it.
Fattah submitted a letter Tuesday to the Congressional Record informing House Speaker John Boehner of the subpoena issued by the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia. Under the U.S. House's internal rules, members are required to promptly inform the House speaker of any subpoena they receive.
In the three-sentence letter, Fattah did not describe the documents that are being sought by the subpoena or whether it is related to a criminal investigation.
He said he will try to quash the subpoena's request for documents that he believes are not "material and relevant," and that are not "consistent with the privileges and rights of the House."
Otherwise, he said he would comply with the subpoena's other requests that meet those thresholds.
A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger in Philadelphia said Thursday that the office does not confirm or deny the existence of any investigation.
Fattah's lawyer, Luther E. Weaver III of Philadelphia, declined to comment Thursday on the subpoena.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that, last fall, Memeger's office requested records of city property taxes and utility bills for Fattah's home in the East Falls section of Philadelphia. Weaver said at the time that the subpoenas were part of an investigation that had begun about seven years ago, the Inquirer reported.
On Thursday, Weaver declined comment on those subpoenas or any broader investigation of Fattah. He also declined to comment on whether the latest subpoena of congressional records is related to an investigation of Fattah.
Fattah, 57, entered Congress in 1995 and is a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. He is running for an 11th term in the U.S. House this year.
The Inquirer has reported that federal investigators in recent years have focused on grants, or earmarks, that Fattah sponsored for nonprofit organizations run by his former congressional staff aides. Some officials from those groups have told the Inquirer that investigators interviewed them.
Fattah is the husband of NBC10 Philadelphia anchor Renee Chenault-Fattah.