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Archive for March 25th, 2022

U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry Found Guilty of Lying to Federal Investigators

Jeff Fortenberry

By Steve Neavling

U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry was convicted by a federal jury Thursday of concealing information and making false statements to federal authorities about an illegal $30,000 contribution to his campaign from a Nigerian billionaire. 

The 61-year-old Nebraska Republican has served in Congress since 2005. 

He will be sentenced on June 28. Each of the three felony charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison. 

“After learning of illegal contributions to his campaign, the congressman repeatedly chose to conceal the violations of federal law to protect his job, his reputation and his close associates,” U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison said in a statement. “The lies in this case threatened the integrity of the American electoral system and were designed to prevent investigators from learning the true source of campaign funds.”

Prosecutors said Fortenberry lied to investigators on two occasions when asked about the illegal donation during a Los Angeles fundraiser in 2016. It’s a crime to accept donations from foreign nationals for a federal campaign. He also failed to file an amended repot with the Federal Election Commission. 

“Today’s conviction highlights the FBI’s commitment to holding elected officials accountable,” Kristi Johnson, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, said. “The verdict emphasizes the importance of being truthful to law enforcement and demonstrates the government’s dedication to keeping the nation’s interests free from foreign influence through illegal campaign contributions.”

Former TSA Administrator ‘Kip’ Hawley Dies at Age 68

Former TSA Administrator Edmund S. “Kip” Hawley

By Steve Neavling

Edmund S. “Kip” Hawley, who served as TSA administrator from July 2005 to January 2009, died Monday. 

He was 68.

Details of his death were not immediately available. 

“It is with a heavy heart that I share the loss of former TSA Administrator Kip Hawley,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske tweeted. “His legacy was a model for compassionate public service, innovation, and customer service which remains a cornerstone @TSA today. The #TSAWorkforce stands with Kip’s family and loved ones.”

In a joint statement, U.S. Reps. Bennie G. Thompson, D-MS, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and John Katko, R-NY, ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said Hawley “played an integral role” in protecting Americans following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“Our homeland security community is saddened to lose an important contributor to the early days of TSA and the Department of Homeland Security,” they said. “I commend former Administrator Hawley for his service and dedication to securing our Nation’s aviation system. I share his focus on advocating for the dedicated professionals at TSA. As he said in a statement for the record at our recent committee hearing on the State of TSA Twenty Years After 9/11, ‘intelligence and technology are critical to effective security, but people were – and still are – TSA’s strongest asset.’”

Born in Waltham, Mass., Hawley received a political science degree from Brown University in 1976 and a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1980. 

He left behind a wife and two children.