Republican Congressman Shamefully Resigns After Felony Conviction

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A certain number of legislators leave Congress every year due to age, time served, and burnout. But the Republicans have another reason to worry about their numbers.

Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) would have a tough time doing his job in prison. He resigned shortly after being convicted on felony charges for crimes that could land him in prison for 15 years.  He was convicted of “scheming to falsify and conceal material facts” in an investigation about “foreign national” contributions:

‘[He concealed] information and making false statements to federal authorities who were investigating illegal contributions made by a foreign national to the congressman’s 2016 re-election campaign.’

Fortenberry sent out an email to people who have supported him during his career. It read:

‘Due to the difficulties of my current circumstances, I can no longer effectively serve.’

IRS Special Agent in Charge of the investigation, Ryan Korner, spoke after the congressman was convicted of his crimes. He said Fortenberry’s conviction showed “no one is above the law,” according to the Department of Justice:

‘Jeff Fortenberry lied to federal agents in order to cover up illegal contributions to his re-election campaign. The guilty verdict today shows that no one is above the law, and IRS-CI and our law enforcement partners will continue to hold our public servants accountable.’

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had called for him to step down. As CNN reported, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy explained:

‘I think he had his day in court. I think if he wants to appeal, he can go do that as a private citizen. But I think when someone’s convicted, it’s time to resign.’

The Nebraska legislator will be sentenced on June 28. Then, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, a Republican, will replace Fortenberry in a special election in his district.

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