McCord Resigns Amid Extortion Scandal
Now that former Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord has admitted using the influence of his office to get money from prospective donors to his gubernatorial campaign, what happens next? And what does his resignation mean for the future of the state? Capitol correspondent Mary Wilson provides her analysis and her forecast for Harrisburg’s political climate to come.
Wilson explains the timeline behind the former PA Treasurer’s recent resignation and criminal charges. McCord resigned last Thursday in a written statement that suggested nothing untoward and hinted at no criminal charges. Soon afterward, however, reports surfaced about an investigation against McCord.
On Friday he admitted his culpability in strongarming potential political donors, and just yesterday he was charged with two counts of attempted extortion.
The charging documents against McCord call attention to phone calls that occurred during McCord’s unsuccessful run in the Democratic gubernatorial primary last year. According to the charges, in these phone calls McCord is alleged to have used his power as Treasurer to extort campaign support from two potential donors by, in effect, threatening to end state contracts in which the donors have a substantial financial interest.
Wilson says that the charges against McCord come with a maximum possible penalty of 40 years in jail and a half-million-dollar fine. The judge, however, will likely consider as mitigating factors McCord’s cooperation (McCord has openly accepted responsibility and has pleaded guilty) as well his position as a public and elected official.
According to Wilson, an interim Treasurer was sworn in on Friday, and a new Treasurer will need to be nominated for the remainder of McCord’s term.
Wilson characterizes the McCord case in light of other state corruption cases:
“It's certainly another black eye on a state that has plenty of bruising stories in its past when it comes to public corruption and campaign-related corruption. It’s just one more mark against the favor of how Pennsylvania voters can view their elected officials.”