By now, everyone who follows the political news knows that conservative Republican Jeff Fortenberry (NE) was indicted for lying to the FBI about taking crooked and illegal foreign campaign "contributions" (bribes from a Hezbollah connection). [He was kicked out his committee.) But not many people have ever heard of Fortenberry. No need to start now. Instead, I suspect that everyone who reads DWT has heard of career criminal and career politician Darrell Issa and that no one will be surprised that he is also named for taking money from the same criminal mastermind-- several times. Issa admits to being "candidate C" in the indictment that states that he received $30,000 in laundered illegally contributions from Gilbert Chagoury, a billionaire Nigerian/Lebanese crime syndicate boss. His illegal political contributions aren't ideological-- the Clintons one day, Issa, Ray LaHood (R-IL), Scott Perry (R-PA), Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Fortenberry the next, always laundered through third parties.
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.
...The feds ultimately indicted Fortenberry on Wednesday on charges that he lied to the FBI about his knowledge of the origins of those donations. Fortenberry pleaded not guilty and was ordered to put up $50,000 in bond. His trial has been scheduled for December.
...Before he could even be asked if he also received donations from Chagoury, Issa interjected. “No, I don’t have the same issues [as Fortenberry],” he said. “I made no statements to any FBI-- or anything else.”
He declined to expand further on the funds he received from Chagoury. “Well,” he said, “I'm not doing an interview.”
$30,000 to Issa, who is also a Lebanese Christian like Chagoury seems substantial enough to wonder what the quid pro quo was. Remember that when Trump tried giving Issa a job in the administration he failed his FBI background check. Everyone at DWT is interested in why someone went through so much trouble to funnel these donations through straw contributors, because obviously no one is going to go through this much trouble and violate the law for no reason. The big questions that we have are:
Why was Issa one of the four candidates in the country that Chagoury illegally funneled money to?
What did Chagoury want, why did he think that Issa could get it for him and what did Issa follow through on for Chagoury?
Why is Issa saying that he hasn't given a statement to the FBI about these donations given that they interviewed Fortenberry about the same issue?
The plausible Democrat running against Issa this cycle is a Latino gay former Marine from Escondido, Jospeh Rocha-- and Navy vet as well! The early redistricting maps I've seen show the district going from very red (R+8) safe Republican seat to much more of a swing district-- R+2-- that will make Issa very vulnerable.