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A top Republican lawmaker on the House Appropriations Committee’s agriculture panel announced that he is being investigated by federal authorities.
On a fundraising page for a new legal expense fund — which was later taken off-line — Nebraska GOP Rep. Jeff Fortenberry wrote: “Biden’s FBI is using its unlimited power to prosecute me on a bogus charge.”
“The investigation in question, the spokesperson said, had to do with illegal campaign contributions by a Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire to a number of congressional Republicans,” Axios reported.
“It’s been previously reported that the FBI investigated an effort by a foreign national to illegally funnel money to U.S. political campaigns, including Rep. Fortenberry’s,” he wrote.
“The people involved in that scheme were prosecuted and no charges were filed against him. This legal expense trust was established in part to address costs associated with that investigation.”
“Fortenberry’s present-tense appeal was made after his campaign committee paid a new law firm over the summer, according to Federal Election Commission records. In June, it reported paying $25,000 to Bienert Katzman Littrell Williams LLP, a California firm specializing in white-collar criminal defense,” Axios reported.
Scoop: Nebraska Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, the top Republican on the Appropriations Committee's agriculture panel, says he's facing federal prosecution https://t.co/CxT6ZtaQgd
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) October 4, 2021
Per a source: It appears "Federal Candidate D" in this DOJ filing from California is Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. The case involves a Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire who illegally funneled $30,000 into a 2016 campaign fund. The case was resolved in March. pic.twitter.com/YHkrzhtz4B
— Chris Dunker 🗞 (@ChrisDunkerLJS) October 4, 2021
Fortenberry spokesman says that Rep. Jeff Fortenberry did not approve the language on a fundraising website.
“It’s been previously reported that the FBI investigated an effort by a foreign national to illegally funnel money to U.S. political campaigns, including Rep. Fortenberry’s. The people involved in that scheme were prosecuted and no charges were filed against him. This legal expense trust was established in part to address costs associated with that investigation. Rep. Fortenberry never saw or approved the language on that website,” said the spokesman for Fortenberry.
“Members can also use campaign accounts for some legal expenses, but those accounts can have lower contribution limits than a legal fund. Since 2019, Fortenberry’s campaign reported spending more than $94,000 on legal services, mostly to a South Carolina law firm, Nelson Riley & Scarborough LLP. In June of 2021, the campaign made a payment of $25,000 in legal fees to a newly enlisted firm in California — Bienert Katzman Littrel Williams LLP, a firm described on its website as a trial boutique firm,” Roll Call reported.