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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.”


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