LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — One day after news broke that Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R) is raising money for a legal defense trust in order to defend him against a possible FBI investigation, Fortenberry spoke at a Lincoln Chamber of Commerce event.
He addressed the matter early on in his presentation.
“A number of years ago, some very bad people illegally transferred money into my campaign, along with several other members of Congress. They were caught, they were punished and they’ve been held accountable, thankfully,” said Fortenberry.
What Fortenberry is referring to is a flurry of campaign donations that came to him on a single day in March of 2016.
The donations match up with an FBI affidavit from earlier this year related to the investigation of Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury.
According to the US Attorney's office, Chagoury and an associate were tied to funneling money to multiple members of Congress and eventually paid millions to resolve the issue but were never formally prosecuted.
While it’s unclear if the FBI is pursuing an investigation into Fortenberry, he says he’s hired lawyers to protect himself.
“Now as a part of that I had to seek legal help, I had to have a lawyer and so we set up a legal trust to help defray some of those costs,” said Fortenberry.
Fortenberry's presentation largely centered on the dual infrastructure bills that are in Congress. He said he wouldn’t support the larger reconciliation bill pushed by Democrats and has concerns about the size and scope of the bi-partisan deal passed in the Senate this summer.
After speaking, he left before a planned question and answer time with reporters at the Lincoln Country Club.
After redistricting, Fortenberry now represents western Sarpy County, including Bellevue, La Vista and Papillion, as well as Lincoln and other rural areas.