McCarthy, Pelosi call on convicted Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry to resign

Fortenberry was convicted Thursday on three felony charges connected to false statements he gave to the FBI about illegal campaign contributions.

Updated: March 25, 2022 - 1:13pm

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) both said Friday that convicted Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) should resign from Congress.

Fortenberry was convicted Thursday on three felony charges connected to false statements he gave to the FBI about illegal campaign contributions.

McCarthy, during a press conference in Florida where House GOP members are conducting their annual policy retreat, said the Nebraska Republican "had his day in court."

"I think if he wants to appeal, he can go do that as a private citizen. I think when someone’s convicted, it’s time to resign," he said, adding that he texted the lawmaker Thursday night and plans to speak with him.

A federal judge found Fortenberry guilty on a single count of falsifying and concealing material facts and two counts of making false statements to the FBI as the agency investigated a $30,000 contribution to Fortenberry's campaign from a Nigerian billionaire. Each count comes with up to five years in prison. 

Fortenberry told the Nebraska Examiner that he plans to appeal the conviction.

In a Friday statement, Speaker Pelosi made her position on the matter clear, saying "Congressman Fortenberry’s conviction represents a breach of the public trust and confidence in his ability to serve. No one is above the law. Congressman Fortenberry must resign from the House."

Following his indictment in October, Fortenberry stepped down from his committee posts. If he does not choose to resign, he could face disciplinary action from the House, including the possibility of expulsion from Congress.