U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) was found guilty on Thursday of concealing information and making false statements to federal authorities in regard to an investigation looking into illegal campaign contributions in his 2016 re-election campaign. A federal judge convicted Fortenberry on three felony counts.
Fortenberry was charged with three felony counts last October, including one count of scheming to falsify and conceal material facts and two counts of making false statements to federal investigators.
“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,” US 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.”
The indictment stated that an unnamed person, referred to as “Individual H” in the document, acted as a co-host of a 2016 fundraiser for the congressman. According to the indictment, Fortenberry contacted that individual in the spring of 2018 to discuss hosting another event. The court document states that during a June 2018 call, the fundraiser co-host told Fortenberry that the $30,000 in donations “probably did come from” a foreign national.
Fortenberry has claimed that an unknown individual moved money into his account without his knowledge. “About five and a half years ago, a person from overseas illegally moved money to my campaign,” Fortenberry said in a YouTube video last year.
Fortenberry is scheduled to be sentenced on June 28. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Jeff Fortenberry, 61, was one of 35 House Republicans to vote for the establishment of a January 6 committee. He also opted not to contest the 2020 election after he indicated otherwise.