State leaders call on Shoffner to resign

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Gov. Mike Beebe and other state democrats are calling on Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner to resign after she allegedly took cash from a broker who managed state funds.

Beebe, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Will Bond and Republican Party of Arkansas Chairman Doyle Webb each separately told reporters Monday that Shoffner should step down immediately. Shoffner, a Democrat, said she doesn't intend to resign.

Chairman Will Bond says the party is "shocked and disturbed" by allegations listed in an affidavit filed Monday in federal court. Federal prosecutors say Shoffner accepted $1,000 a month from a broker to cover rent at a Little Rock apartment so she wouldn't have to commute from her home in Newport every day. The broker would deliver the cash in a pie box - with a pie - to help conceal the delivery once every six months. The money was reportedly given over the past three years, totaling $36,000.

The broker was offered immunity to cooperate with federal investigators.

Bond says that although Shoffner has the right to be presumed innocent, Arkansas taxpayers should have confidence in their state finances. He says Shoffner should resign "to restore public trust."

Shoffner appeared in federal court Monday after she was arrested this weekend at her home in Newport. She didn't enter a plea because she has not yet been indicted with a crime, but her attorney, Chuck Banks, said she would plead not guilty at the appropriate time.

Shoffner was released on her own recognizance. She was also ordered to surrender her passport.

CONTINUING COVERAGETreasurer appears at hearing on auditState Treasurer Martha Shoffner arrested on extortion charges, Capitol reacts (May 18)Auditing Committee told law enforcement of Shoffner findings (May 19)Ark. treasurer accused of taking cash from broker (May 20)