GOP Rep. Fortenberry: Fed indictment on campaign donation 'bogus charge manufactured to take him out

Indictment related to federal case on campaign contributions linked to Nigerian-born billionaire Gilbert Chagoury

Updated: October 20, 2021 - 10:26am

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A federal grand jury has indicted GOP Rep. Jeff Fortenberry for allegedly concealing information and making false statements to authorities about campaign contributions. 

The Justice Department says the Nebraska congressman repeatedly lied to authorities and misled them during an investigation into possible illegal contributions to his reelection campaign from Nigerian-born billionaire Gilbert Chagoury. 

Fortenberry is charged with one count of scheming to falsify and conceal material facts and two counts of making false statements to federal investigators, according to Politico.

Fortenberry and his wife reportedly attempted to fundraise off the indictment before it was made public, telling constituents and donors the accusation is "entirely false" and a "bogus charge manufactured to take him out," as reported first by the Omaha World-Herald.

Fortenberry is expected to appear in court Wednesday for his arraignment.

The charges are related to a case against Chagoury, who under federal law cannot contribute to U.S. elections. He admitted to providing roughly $180,000 to make campaign donations. Federal document shows a Chagoury associate helped funnel the money to Fortenberry and other candidates.

Chagoury paid a $1.8 million fine to resolve the allegations and began cooperating with authorities. The candidates and campaigns who received funds are not named in the indictment released Tuesday.

However, Politico reported earlier this year that individual donations connected to Chagoury matched gifts to Fortenberry, former Nebraska Rep. Lee Terry, California Rep. Darrell Issa and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney when he was a presidential candidate – all Republicans. 

The Justice Department alleged that Chagoury arranged for $30,000 to be contributed to Fortenberry’s campaign through other individuals. 

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