House Republican: FBI Prosecuting Me on 'Bogus Charge' Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., speaks as the House Rules Committee meets to formulate a rule on the H.R.4502 appropriations bill on Monday, July 26, 2021. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)
By Charlie McCarthy | Monday, 04 October 2021 11:44 AM
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee's agriculture panel, said he's facing federal prosecution, Axios reported Monday.
The Nebraska Republican made the disclosure on a new fundraising web page for his legal expense fund.
"[President Joe] Biden’s FBI is using its unlimited power to prosecute me on a bogus charge," Fortenberry said before the page was quickly removed, Axios said.
There was no word on what conduct the FBI might be investigating or prosecuting, Axios said.
A Fortenberry spokesperson had not responded to Axios' request for comment. The FBI declined to comment.
Axios reported that records on file with the House clerk showed Fortenberry set up the legal expense trust on Aug. 27.
"Unlike Swamp Creature Nancy Pelosi, I’m a principled conservative who has NEVER abused my seat in Congress to get wealthy," Fortenberry's fundraising page said. "And right now I'm facing the Deep State's bottomless pockets."
Federal Election Commission records showed that Fortenberry's campaign committee retained a new law firm over the summer. Bienert Katzman Littrell Williams LLP, a California firm specializing in white-collar criminal defense, was paid $25,000 in June.
The payment to the firm was the campaign's largest payment for legal services to date, Axios said.
Fortenberry's legal expense fund is soliciting contributions of up to $5,000 per donor per year. House rules dictate that the fund can accept donations from individuals, corporations, and political action committees but not registered lobbyists.
The congressman also has secured a digital consultant who helped launch a legal expense fund for former Trump administration official Kash Patel, according to web domain registration records.
The firm Believe Media registered websites for both Patel's "Legal Offense Trust," and the Jeff Fortenberry Legal Expense Trust.
Fortenberry, 60, has represented Nebraska's 1st District since 2005. The former economist and Lincoln City Council member currently is ranking member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies.
Fortenberry last week joined other Republicans in voting against approved House legislation that will fund the government through Dec. 3. He pointed to late additions to the package as the reason for his "no" vote, the Omaha World-Herald reported.
"We learned late in the process that additional policy considerations were added without proper vetting," Fortenberry said.