Within days of resigning from congress after a jury found him guilty on three felony counts, Jeff Fortenberry already had started a new job.
On March 24, Fortenberry was convicted of concealing information and making false statements to the FBI, which was investigating potentially illegal campaign contributions. He resigned from Congress a week later. Four days after that, he started working as director of employee programs for Practice Management of America, which offers business support to physicians, according to a disclosure he filed in July.
Members of Congress are allowed to negotiate for future employment as long as they notify the House Committee on Ethics within three days, according to a 2020 memorandum from the panel. That memo only specifies that the notification will become public if the lawmaker also decides there’s “a conflict of interest or an appearance of a conflict” and files a statement of recusal. The House Clerk only has one statement of recusal on file since 2014, and it’s not from Fortenberry.
The Nebraska politician had a connection with New York-based Practice Management of America Inc. while in office. Since January 2018, he has held shares of the private company in his IRA account. His wife also has a stake in the company. Employees of Practice Management of America, who don’t tend to be big political donors, contributed $16,000 to Fortenberry’s campaign between 2018 and 2022.
Fortenberry knows something about healthcare, having served as the ranking member of a House Appropriations subcommittee that has jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration. He resigned from that position, and his other committee assignments, after his indictment in October 2021.
Fortenberry and Practice Management of America did not respond to requests for comment. Fortenberry, who was sentenced to two years of probation, has appealed his conviction.