Arkansas Politics

Local & Regional News
4:36 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Former Arkansas Treasurer Indicted On Extortion Charge

Martha Shoffner's mug shot after being arrested May 18 at her home in Newport.
Credit Pulaski County Sheriff's Office

A federal grand jury has indicted former Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner on charges that she accepted more than $36,000 cash from a bond broker to whom she steered a large portion of the state's investment business.

The indictment filed on Wednesday charged Shoffner with extortion and other charges.

Shoffner was arrested at her Newport home May 18 after the FBI said it caught her on tape accepting a $6,000 payment from the broker, who hasn't been identified.

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Local & Regional News
4:39 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Judge Rejects Guilty Plea From Ex-Arkansas treasurer

U.S. Attorney Christopher Thyer speaking with reporters outside the federal courthouse in Little Rock.
Credit Michael Hibblen/ KUAR

Former Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner and prosecutors had agreed on terms of a plea deal, but Friday afternoon it was rejected by a federal judge.

“There were questions that I wasn’t comfortable with,” Shoffner told reporters as she left the courthouse in Little Rock.

Judge Leon Holmes questioned her during the hearing, asking if she understood the terms of the plea. She said “Yes.”

He also asked if Shoffner had taken the payments from a bond broker as alleged by prosecutors. She said “Yes, but it was offered. I didn’t demand it.”

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Local & Regional News
6:20 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Arkansas Governor To Name New State Treasurer

Governor Mike Beebe

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe is naming his pick to replace the state treasurer who resigned over accusations she accepted cash payments in exchange for steering business to an investment broker.

Beebe on Wednesday planned to announce the replacement for Martha Shoffner, who stepped down last week after she was charged with extortion by federal prosecutors over the cash payments. 

Whoever Beebe appoints will fill the remainder of Shoffner's term, which ends in January 2015, and can't run for the post next year. Shoffner, a Democrat, was re-elected in 2010. 

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Local & Regional News
7:05 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Griffin Wants Congress To Focus On Facts In IRS Controversy

Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., questions Steven Miller, former acting IRS commissioner, and J. Russell George, Treasury Department inspector general for tax administration, during a hearing on Capitol Hill.
Credit CHARLES DHARAPAK / AP

As members of Congress continue their investigation into Internal Revenue Service practices that delayed the tax-exempt status for many conservative groups from 2010 to 2012, Arkansas Congressman Tim Griffin says now is not the time to score political points.

“Get the facts and then draw your conclusions. That’s the way an investigation works,” said Griffin. “As a result of partisan fervor, some people have a tendency to get ahead of the facts. My view is get the facts and let the facts tell the story.”

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Local & Regional News
6:15 am
Thu May 23, 2013

2 Men Sentenced In Arkansas Election Fraud Case

Two men who pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in an election fraud case involving a former east Arkansas lawmaker have been sentenced to home confinement and probation.

Federal court records show that Phillip Wayne Carter was sentenced Wednesday to five months of home confinement. Sam Malone was sentenced Tuesday to 7.2 months of home confinement. Both men were also sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to complete 100 hours of community service.

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Local & Regional News
10:25 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Arkansas GOP House Leader Calls For Shoffner's Removal

Arkansas State Treasurer Martha Shoffner answers questions during a meeting of the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee at the State Capitol on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012.
Credit Danny Johnston / AP Photo

The top Republican in the Arkansas House is calling on the governor to begin the process to remove state Treasurer Martha Shoffner over federal charges she accepted cash from an investment broker.

House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman on Tuesday asked Gov. Mike Beebe to convene lawmakers to remove Shoffner, a day after she appeared in court on federal extortion charges.

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Treasurer Kickbacks
5:54 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

US Attorney: State Treasurer's Alleged Actions Erode Public Trust

US Attorney Chris Thyer (at podium) told reporters after Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner's arraignment hearing that she was arrested over the weekend after accepting $6,000 from an FBI informant.
Credit Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

US Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas Chris Thyer said Monday that allegations against state Treasurer Martha Shoffner are grave.

He spoke to reporters after Shoffner made her initial court appearance on charges she accepted money from a broker in return for investing state money with that broker.

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Breaking News
11:06 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Filing Says Arkansas Treasurer Admitted Accepting Money From Broker

Martha Shoffner's mug shot after being arrested Saturday by the FBI.
Credit Pulaski County Sheriff's Office

An affidavit filed in federal court alleges that Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner repeatedly took cash payments from a broker who invested state money.  

The affidavit filed Monday claims that Shoffner accepted multiple payments of $6,000 cash that were sometimes rolled up and hidden in a pie box.

The affidavit says the broker has been granted immunity in exchange for his or her cooperation. 

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Local & Regional News
4:37 pm
Sun May 19, 2013

State Treasurer Martha Shoffer To Have Hearing On Extortion Charges

A mug shot of Martha Shoffner after she was arrested Saturday.
Credit Pulaski County Sheriff's Office

Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner is to go before a federal judge Monday, after being arrested over the weekend on charges of extortion.

FBI spokeswoman Kimberly Brunell says agents arrested Shoffner Saturday at her home in Newport.

The Democrat serving her second term has been under scrutiny because of how her office has handled state investments.

Legislative auditors say that in 2011, 11 bonds were sold from the state’s investment portfolio before they had matured, resulting in a net loss of more than $434,000 worth of earnings.

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Arkansas Politics
9:51 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Legislators Say So Long, Carter Says Some Other Time

Arkansas Speaker of the House Davy Carter said the state should loosen its term limit restrictions for state legislators and consider open primary elections as ways to better represent its populous.
Credit Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

State lawmakers met briefly this morning to formally adjourn the legislature, making for a quiet end to an otherwise action packed legislative session.

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