Republican Representative Jeff Fortenberry from Nebraska submitted his resignation from Congress on Thursday after being found guilty of lying to the Department of Justice during a probe into foreign money provided to his campaign fund, Fox News informed.
In the face of legal concerns, Fortenberry released a brief formal statement announcing his retirement.
In his resignation letter, Fortenberry stated that he was honored to be part of the US House of Representatives, but that due to the current occurrences he can no longer proceed to serve the country.
The DOJ issued a press release stating that Representative Jeff Fortenberry has been found guilty by the federal jury for hiding information and giving false statements to authorities that investigated illicit payments made by foreign nationals in the campaign for the reelection of the congressman in 2016.
Fortenberry’s misleading remarks stemmed from his testimony to federal investigators looking into financial irregularities in his campaign.
In a recorded 2018 call with Fortenberry, Dr. Elias Ayoub, who hosted the congressman in Los Angeles in 2016, said that he has given around $30,000 to friends and family who were present at the fundraiser so they could contribute to the campaign of Fortenberry. Ayoub was already working closely with the FBI during the call in 2018.
Ayoub believes the funds came from Gilbert Chagoury, a foreign person who acknowledged to funneling $180,000 in illicit political contributions to four candidates in 2019 and agreed to pay a $1.8 million punishment.
In 2019, Fortenberry informed the FBI that he didn’t receive any overseas donations or so-called conduit contributions, in which money was passed to straw contributors, unaware that the call was being recorded.
A maximum term of five years is imposed on each conviction.
Fortenberry expressed his gratitude to his constituents in an email, thanking them for “entrusting me with the immense responsibility of running our nation.”
The announcement of Fortenberry came after some political leaders in Nebraska and Washington put pressure on him to submit his resignation. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy both called for Fortenberry’s resignation on Friday.