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Making sure FBI can pay its (legal) bills?

FBI Director James Comey (AFP PHOTO/Jewel SamadJEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images FBI Director James Comey (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

In Philadelphia, a congressman’s son pursued by the FBI sued the agency (and the IRS and Department of Justice) for just under $10 million in damages to his personal and professional reputation.

Meanwhile in Washington, his father, Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) ensured FBI Director James Comey that the agency had Congress’s support.

Chaka Fattah, Jr., added the FBI to his month-old lawsuit on Tuesday. The next day, as the agency received its official summons, his father –  coincidentally the ranking Democrat on the appropriations subcommittee that oversees Justice Department funding – was face-to-face with the FBI director.

“We want to make sure that the one issue that you’re not focused on is money,” Fattah told Comey. “And our job is to appropriate the money, so we need to hear from you today about what it is that you see that you need so that we can find a way to provide it.”

(Like a few extra million to settle a lawsuit?)

In 2012, the younger Fattah’s Center City Philadelphia apartment and office were raided by the feds as part of a criminal investigation into his finances. In a 51-page complaint he filed himself with the U.S. District Court, Fattah claims federal officials unlawfully leaked the raid to Philadelphia media, resulting in a “virtual storm of negative publicity.” He’s suing for “emotional distress,  loss of income … significant and actual economic harm to his reputation.”

The FBI does not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation. A spokeswoman in the FBI’s Philadelphia field office said she could not comment on pending litigation.

We asked Rep. Fattah about his ultimate political struggle – for love or country. In an e-mail to the Loop (complete with hyperlinks), he said:

Attorney General Holder and FBI Director Comey appreciate my work and commitment to funding their respective agencies. As a Member of Congress, I swore an oath to protect every American’s constitutional rights. My son, who I love, is no exception.”


Colby Itkowitz is the lead anchor of the Inspired Life blog. She previously covered the quirks of national politics and the federal government.

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