Nebraska Republican Congressman Jeff Fortenberry is facing growing pressure from leaders in both parties to resign after being convicted of 3 federal counts on Thursday for lying about an illegal 2016 campaign donation from a foreign billionaire.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy both called on the 9-term House member on Friday to leave office, as did Nebraska Republican Governor Pete Ricketts
Pelosi says Fortenberry’s conviction “represents a breach of the public trust and confidence in his ability to serve.”
McCarthy told reporters he planned to talk to Fortenbery on Friday, but that he thinks “when someone’s convicted, it’s time to resign.”
Ricketts says “the people of Nebraska deserve active, certain representation,” adding that he hopes Fortenberry “will do the right thing and resign so his constituents have that certainty while he focuses on his family and other affairs.”
Ricketts had endorsed State Senator Mike Flood of Norfolk, who’d filed against Fortenberry out of fear the charges could cost the GOP his seat.
Assistant U-S Attorney Mack Jenkins, who led the prosecution, says his team hasn’t decided on a sentencing recommendation on the 2 counts of making false statements to authorities and one of concealing information.
Each count carries a maximum of 5 years in prison, but most analysts expect Fortenberry to get somewhere between probation and less than 2 years in federal prison total.
Felons are eligible to run for and serve in Congress, but the vast majority of sitting members who’ve been convicted over the years choose to resign before expulsion.
Congressional rules bars members from voting on legislation after a felony conviction unless they’re re-elected afterwards.