HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Just-resigned Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord plans to plead guilty to federal extortion charges for threatening potential donors to his failed gubernatorial campaign, according to court papers filed Monday in Harrisburg.
The court papers included a plea agreement signed by McCord and a guilty plea is set for Feb. 17, McCord’s lawyer, Robert Welsh, said Monday.
Prosecutors filed two charges of extortion in connection with McCord’s dealings with a law firm and a property-management firm. The firms were not named and few details about the case were given. The maximum penalty for each charge is 20 years in prison.
McCord, 55, had been midway through his second term as state treasurer when he resigned last Friday and said he planned to plead guilty to federal charges accusing him of using his office to threaten potential campaign donors last year. He apologized in a video released by his lawyers Friday and said he accepted responsibility for his actions.
He said in the video that he had “stepped over the line” by telling two potential campaign contributors that, as treasurer, he “could make things difficult for them” if they did not donate.
“I essentially said that the potential contributors should not risk making an enemy of the state treasurer,” McCord said in the video. “Clearly, that was wrong, I was wrong. It was a mistake. I stand ready to pay the price for that mistake.”
As treasurer – one of three elected row offices in Pennsylvania, with attorney general and auditor general – McCord oversaw a massive financial operation that holds state funds, handles state government investments and pays its bills and employees.
The man who had been McCord’s chief counsel, Christopher Craig, has been running Treasury since Friday as executive deputy state treasurer.
Gov. Tom Wolf, who beat McCord in last spring’s gubernatorial primary, will nominate someone to finish the last two years of McCord’s term. The state Senate must confirm the appointment.
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