Legal

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry faces charges of lying to the FBI. Even after the DOJ stepped in, the middleman continued to give.

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, March 27, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo | Andrew Harnik/AP Photo

By HAILEY FUCHS and OLIVIA BEAVERS

10/22/2021 10:53 AM EDT

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Not long after Toufic Baaklini settled a case with the Justice Department involving illegal campaign donations to members of Congress, a Republican lawmaker took more contributions from him.

An associate of the Nigerian-born billionaire at the heart of a scandal threatening to bring down Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), Baaklini agreed to pay $90,000 and cooperate with investigators in a case the DOJ settled in March 2021. This year, he made two separate $1,000 contributions to Rep. Scott Perry’s campaign — one on the same day the agreement became public, according to federal records.

Those donations, while not the focus of a recent indictment against Fortenberry, underscore how eager members of congress often are to raise money, even when there are red flags around it. They also add a layer of intrigue to a story of global influence peddling involving an embattled Nigerian billionaire and a sitting member of Congress whose future in the chamber is now in peril.

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