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Arkansas treasurer Shoffner resigns amid extortion charges

By David Harten

This article was originally published May 21, 2013 at 5:17 p.m. Updated May 21, 2013 at 5:52 p.m.


In this Dec. 14, 2012, file photo Arkansas State Treasurer Martha Shoffner at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock. Shoffner plead not guilty to 10 counts of mail fraud in federal court on Thursday morning at her arraignment. A separate trail is scheduled for Monday to try Shoffner on 14 other counts, including bribery, extortion and attempted extortion.

Arkansas State Treasurer Martha Shoffner, who was arrested Saturday on extortion charges, officially resigned her position effective Tuesday.

Shoffner, a Democrat, was arraigned in federal court in Little Rock on Monday morning after being charged with accepting six separate payments of $6,000 in exchange for reallocating government bonds to a Russellville firm.

In a letter released late Tuesday afternoon, Shoffner expressed remorse.

"Dear Governor Beebe, It is with great sadness that I tender my resignation of the office of Treasurer of the State of Arkansas. I am proud to have been elected by and to have served the people of the State of Arkansas and regret that I can no longer perform the duties and responsibilities owed to the public. Please accept this resignation effective 5 p.m. today's date, May 21, 2013."

Leaving the courthouse on Monday, when asked if she would resign, Shoffner responded "not at this time." When asked if he would advise his client to resign, Charles A. "Chuck" Banks, had a different answer.

"Probably so, probably so," Banks said. "But that's not my call to make."

Various state officials, including Gov. Mike Beebe, have called for Shoffner's resignation since the charges were made public. Beebe is able to appoint an official to take Shoffner's place for the remainder of her term.

Shoffner, 68, was elected as state treasurer in 2006, taking office in 2007. She was reelected to the post in 2010.

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


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Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 total comments

oldude says... May 21, 2013 at 6:03 p.m.

Just another piece of crap!

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LR1955 says... May 21, 2013 at 6:40 p.m.

My gripe about this crime, and with most other crimes, is the deal making that goes on, some one(s) getting off light.
Seems like the prosecution is only concerned with case closure stats.
What initiated this series of crimes, did our official ask for money or was she offered some money ? Seems they could have gotten the bond daddy too!!!

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arta says... May 21, 2013 at 6:51 p.m.

I want to know who the Russellville firm that paid her to reallocate the government bonds? We need to spread around our disgust for private firms involved in sneaky underhanded deals as well! That way we can put them out of business and teach them a lesson too!

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RBBrittain says... May 21, 2013 at 7:48 p.m.

@LR1955: Read the complaint; Shoffner clearly initiated the payoffs.
@arta: The firm has been identified in other articles: St. Bernard Financial Services. Its owner Robert Keenan has denied making any payments (even as a poster on this very site), though I believe they were cited by the state Securities Department sometime last year. Since the broker (Steele Stephens) did business with Shoffner before joining St. Bernard, it's likely he made the payments (and has immunity).

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... May 21, 2013 at 10:40 p.m.

RBB, you are good.

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fedupwithit says... May 22, 2013 at 8:06 a.m.

"...Shoffner expressed remorse." Come on---there is no remorse in that letter. And the only regret I see is that she got caught stealing from the people of Arkansas. Find out how much she got in bribes, make her pay that to the state to help make up for her mismanagement, and make sure she doesn't get a dime of retirement benefits.

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