(TheRedWire.com) – Every two years, incumbent members of the US House of Representatives must file to run for their seats. Most do so with little controversy. However, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) might need to overcome a few extra roadblocks. On Tuesday, from his pickup truck, the Nebraska Congressman announced he is running for re-election despite charges that he broke campaign finance laws.
In October, the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted Fortenberry on allegations he concealed and made false statements about illegal campaign contributions from Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury. Federal authorities say $30,000 of the billionaire’s money came through a California group to Fortenberry’s campaign coffer.
Despite Indictment, Fortenberry Is Running for Re-Election
Sitting with his wife and dog, the Nebraska Congressman said it was a privilege to serve his constituents in Congress. Fortenberry highlighted what he said were significant accomplishments, including:
- A law supporting research and early treatments of Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Roughly $11.2 million in federal funding to construct a new agricultural research center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
- Funding to upgrade facilities at Offutt Air Force Base
Fortenberry added some red meat to his announcement as well. He said that Congress must protect the border, rebuild the country with American-made products and reject anyone who wants to put Americans into tribes.
Criminal Case Hangs Over Re-Election Bid
Federal campaign law prohibits foreign nationals from contributing to US election campaigns. Fortenberry contends he didn’t know that the donation came from outside of the country. Yet, once informed of the violation, the Congressman allegedly failed to amend his Federal Election Commission report to reflect the violation.
On Monday, January 10, US District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld Jr. refused to toss charges alleging Fortenberry lied to investigators about the illegal campaign contributions. The congressman’s attorneys said he provided a statement to authorities in Washington, DC and at his home — not in California, where prosecutors filed the charges. Defense attorneys also claimed that the congressman didn’t have a legal responsibility to disclose the contributions and accusations and that the DOJ was making up false charges.
Fortenberry’s campaign is preparing to litigate the matter in the court of popular opinion. Campaign spokesman Chad Kolton said the case had been riddled with flaws since the first day of the investigation. He added that the incumbent has faith in the voters to judge what is fair and just and that they will see the case as a left-wing undertaking by California prosecutors.
If you’re into campaign elections for entertainment or sport, this one should be an interesting race to watch in 2022.
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