Corruption Allegations Cast A Big Shadow Over Fortenberry

Jeff Fortenberry told his constituents he was being investigated by the FBI.

The Nebraska political scene was rocked by allegations on October 4 that Representative Jeff Fortenberry was facing a possible federal prosecution. A Facebook page set up by Fortenberry to raise money for a legal defense fund indicated that: “Biden’s FBI is using its unlimited power to prosecute me on a bogus charge.” In addition, the same page claimed that Fortenberry was “facing the Deep State’s bottomless pockets.”

According to filings with the Federal Election Commission, the legal defense fund paid $25,000 to a Los Angeles law firm that specializes in white collar criminal defense cases. It was the Fortenberry campaign’s largest payment for legal services since he was elected to the U.S. House in 2004.

Fortenberry set up a legal defense fund and lawyered up because his 2016 campaign accepted a $30,000 contribution from a foreign donor — which is illegal. The same foreign citizen also donated $10,000 to then Representative Lee Terry’s 2014 campaign.

According to documents from the Department of Justice, the donor was advised to “contribute to U.S. politicians from less-populous states because the contribution would be more noticeable to the politician and thereby would promote increased donor access to the politician.”

Since this story broke, Fortenberry has denied that he was under investigation and claimed that he was cleared. The spokesman for the longtime CD01 House incumbent contended that Fortenberry “never saw or approved” the language used on the post which said he was the subject of a federal investigation.

These allegations cast a big shadow over Fortenberry and raise a number of disturbing implications and questions.

Fortenberry may be the dumbest person in Congress — no one knew he was under criminal investigation until he announced it. In most cases, federal investigations are both secret and lengthy.

Did Fortenberry keep the illegal money he received from a foreign billionaire or did he return it?

Fortenberry contradicted himself on October 4. At first he said he was under investigation and then he denied it. What is it? When did Fortenberry lie?

Representative Fortenberry owes his constituents a full disclosure over these disturbing allegations. The CD01 House member claims he was cleared. It is now high time for Mr. Fortenberry to provide actual documentary proof and evidence that he has been cleared. We simply can’t take his word for it. That’s not enough.

These alarming developments show the price of one longtime, one party in rule in Nebraska. When there is no accountability, corruption and arrogance sets in amongst the ruling party. That is certainly the case with the Nebraska Republican Party.

We need to make GOP corruption and extremism the centerpiece of the 2022 campaign. There will be a lot of fired up Democrats and vaccinated people at the polls next year. They know that the Republican Party is completely unfit to govern.

The Democrats are the party of the people, prosperity, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the ACA. The Republicans are the party of the rich, sabotage, mass unemployment, mass illness, mass death and violence.

The Republicans will always be the party of Donald Trump. We must never let the voters forget that. History matters. Now let’s get it done! We can do it!

I’m a trial lawyer, a Democratic activist and a sports fan.