GOP lawmaker convicted of lying to the FBI is broke and facing prison

GOP lawmaker convicted of lying to the FBI is broke and facing prison
Fortenberry

Former Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), who resigned March 31 after being convicted of lying to the FBI about and falsifying campaign finance documents, had to sell his campaign vehicle to raise cash in a hurry to pay his legal bills.

The Daily Beast is reporting that and other details from the former representative's recently filed campaign disclosure form. Fortenberry personally paid $13,500 for his own campaign vehicle the day of his conviction, and he also took out a home loan and burned through hundred of thousands of dollars of donors' money as his legal defense costs climbed to almost $1 million in just the first three months of 2022.

"Had Fortenberry not taken personal steps" The Daily Beast writes, "those expenses would have busted the campaign before bills came due at the end of March, coincidentally just days after a Los Angeles jury convicted him of lying to the FBI about illegal campaign contributions."

The campaign started the year with about $895,000 on hand. In addition to the legal fees $600,000 in legal fees he racked up, Fortenberry also spent $250,000 for a public relations campaign and an additional $30,000 for communications consulting. And his financial woes were exacerbated with $13,600 in investment losses, according to his disclosure form.

That didn't prevent Fortenberry from dipping into the campaign bank account to pay for travel and meal expenses for himself and his family during the trial, including $1,000 at a DoubleTree hotel and $690 at the LAX Westin. He also used donor funds to cover travel costs for chief of staff Andrew Braner, one of his own witnesses at trial. He was reimbursed $875 for transportation and lodging.

On March 24, after meeting for just two hours, a jury convicted Fortenberry on all three counts, two for lying to the FBI and one for attempting to falsify or conceal evidence. His sentencing is scheduled for June 28. He plans to appeal. Each of the three counts carries a maximum of five years in prison.

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