GOP congressman forfeits committee seats after indictment
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) on Wednesday stepped down from his committee assignments after being indicted for lying to federal investigators amid a probe into illegal campaign donations.
What they're saying: In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Fortenberry said he is "grateful for the outpouring of support from my friends and colleagues as we work against the injustice confronting me."
- The nine-term congressman cited GOP conference rules that members indicted on felony charges that may result in two or more years in prison must step down from their committees.
- Fortenberry stressed that the move is "temporary" and concluded his letter by stating, "I look forward to taking up these committee assignments again once this matter is resolved."
- Fortenberry serves on the powerful House Appropriations Committee and is ranking member of an Appropriations subcommittee overseeing agriculture and rural development.
The big picture: A federal grand jury charged Fortenberry with making false statements to the FBI about his knowledge of illegal contributions to his 2016 campaign by a Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire.
- The Department of Justice said in a statement Fortenberry failed to report the contributions when he allegedly learned of them in 2018, and that he told investigators in 2019 he was not aware of the contributions.
- Fortenberry denied the charge in a YouTube video reported by Axios' Lachlan Markay, in which he stated, "I did not lie to them" and vowed to "fight these charges."