Rep. ‘Fartenberry’ Staffer’s Feud Reported to House Ethics Committee

A Nebraska professor’s claim that the chief of staff for Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) threatened him—after he liked a Facebook photo of a Fortenberry campaign sign that had been vandalized to read “Fartenberry”—has been reported to the House Ethics Committee, The Washington Post reports. The controversy began after an unidentified individual defaced one of Fortenberry’s campaign signs, changing his name to “Fartenberry” and putting googly eyes on his face. He also changed the campaign slogan to “Strong families. Strong communities. Strong odor.” A photo of the prank circulated widely on social media, and Ari Kohen, an associate professor of political science at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, hit the ‘like” button on the image on Facebook. Apparently enraged, Fortnenberry Chief of Staff William “Reyn” Archer III reported Kohen to his university’s chancellor. When Archer and Kohen spoke on the phone, Archer reportedly said that Fortenberry’s team could publicly claim that Kohen liked vandalism—which Kohen interpreted as a threat. He later reported that threat to the House Ethics Committee. Archer denies he threatened Cohen—but as the Post notes, his attempt to teach a lesson about decorum seems to have backfired spectacularly.