The prosecutors, having proven that U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah did indeed steal from his nonprofits, are advocating for a sentence of between 17 and 22 years (reminder, this case involved Federal funds). Of course Representative Fattah's attorneys say that the punishment doesn't fit the crime.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer: (Prosecuters) "noted in court filings, he stole from some of the same causes for which he seeks credit, including the education nonprofit he raided to repay an illegal $1 million campaign loan from his failed 2007 mayoral bid.
Jurors also found that he agreed to misdirect federal grant money to a fake nonprofit in order to pay a political strategist, siphoned funds from his campaign coffer to cover his son's college debts, and accepted more than $27,000 in bribes from wealthy fund-raiser who was hoping to land a White House appointment as an ambassador.
"He chose to violate the trust of his constituents and the taxpayers to line his pockets and advance his personal and professional goals at their expense," Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Gibson wrote."
So what really should be the punishment for stealing from nonprofits? Yes, I know, each theft is unique but overall, just how wrong is stealing from nonprofits and is jail the appropriate punishment? I generally believe that jail is a punishment that should be reserved for the few - those who's presence in the world poses a physical threat. But for the rest of those who commit harm against institutions and nonprofits in particular, I think the punishment should be more focused on restitution and jail of course, limits that prospect. In the case of Rep. Fattah, a daily task of perhaps mentoring (although obviously within guidelines) might be appropriate such that the harm is "worked-off". And likely Rep. Fattah has other gifts he can use to "give-back" for his crime. Jail - not so helpful for anyone.