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Former Pennsylvania treasurer pleads guilty to federal charges

Many readers are aware that Rob McCord recently stepped down from his position as the Pennsylvania's treasurer amid speculation over accusations of wrongdoing within that office. McCord has now entered a guilty plea to two counts of attempted extortion. As the case moves toward sentencing, many within the state will follow to see what ramifications McCord's acknowledgment of guilt for the federal charges.

The extortion charges are based on activities conducted by McCord during the course of his gubernatorial campaign in 2014. The former treasurer is accused of attempting to extort contributions to that campaign from companies that had an interest in doing business with the state. Within a statement of facts document included in the case was the claim that McCord and/or his associates made threats of economic harm if companies or individuals failed to provide campaign contributions.

McCord has admitted using his role as Pennsylvania treasurer to try to obtain funding for his run for the governor's seat. In working with his legal team, the decision was made that pursuing a plea deal was preferable to taking the matter before a federal court. The maximum sentence for the two charges is 40 years in prison in addition to $500,000 in fines. However, having pleaded guilty to the charges against him, McCord will likely receive far less than the maximum.

As the case moves into the sentencing phase, McCord's position as state treasurer has been taken over by the Treasury's chief counsel. A new candidate for the treasurer seat will soon be nominated by Governor Wolf. These federal charges serve as a reminder to Pennsylvania residents of the risks of pushing the limits when it comes to positions of power, as well as the role that plea bargaining can take in avoiding a lengthy trial and the sentencing that can accompany a conviction.

Source: abc27.com, "Pa. House passes bill against cyber bullying", Myles Snyder, Feb. 23, 2015

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