U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (RNE) announced his resignation Saturday after being found guilty of lying to federal investigators about an illegal campaign grant from a foreign national.
In a letter to the House, Fortenberry said he was resigning from Congress, effective March 31. “I am honored to work with you in the United States House of Representatives,” he said in a letter “Due to the difficulty of my current situation, I can no longer serve effectively.”
Following Fortenberry’s resignation, calls for his resignation continued to grow on both sides of the Isle. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) both called on the Nebraska envoy to resign in a separate statement on Friday. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, a Republican, called on Fortenberry to “do the right thing for his constituents” and resign in a statement of his own.
Last October, Fortenberry was charged with three counts, including one count of plotting to conceal information and two counts of making false statements to federal investigators. U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison said in a statement that after learning of her illegal contributions to the campaign, Congressmen chose to cover up repeated violations of federal law to protect her job, her reputation, and those of her close associates. “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.”
The lawsuit alleges that an unnamed person, referred to in the document as “Person H,” co-hosted the 2016 fundraiser for Congressmen. According to the complaint, Fortenberry contacted the man in the spring of 2018 to discuss hosting another event. During a call in June 2018, the fundraiser told co-host Fortenberry that the $ 30,000 grant “probably came from a foreign national,” court documents said.
The congressman denied the allegations and claimed that funds had been transferred to his account without his knowledge.
With Jeff Fortenberry stepping down from the seat he has held since 2005, state Senator Mike Flood is likely to become the next Red District representative. The floods had already hit Fortenberry hard in its Jan. 6 commission vote and had received approval from Governor Ricketts.