Arkansas treasurer arrested for extortion by FBI

Martha Shoffner (Source:
Martha Shoffner (Source:

LITTLE ROCK, AR (AP/KAIT) - Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner has been arrested for extortion by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being held in Pulaski County Jail.

FBI spokeswoman Kimberly Brunell said Shoffner was arrested Saturday, May 18 at her home in Newport and is scheduled for a federal court hearing Monday. Brunell said Shoffner was arrested on charges of "extortion under color of official right." Brunell said she would have more details Monday.

Shoffner, a Democrat serving her second term in office, has faced questions over the past year about the way her office has handled state investments. Legislative auditors last year said Shoffner's office in 2011 sold 11 bonds from its investment portfolio before they had matured and purchased similar bonds from the same brokers, resulting in a net loss of more than $58,000.

One of Shoffner's earliest political supporters and former staff members Cord Rapert says he was questioned by investigators at the FBI-Little Rock office in early 2013 concerning Shoffner.

Rapert said he could not elaborate on the specifics of the several hours of questioning.

"I was surprised that she was arrested. I'm interested to see what the FBI has," Rapert said. "There was a lot of speculation, a lot of gossip among political circles that there was something, a bigger fish to fry."

Rapert met Shoffner when she was serving as a state representative, and he volunteered on her 2002 campaign when he was in high school.

He said he encouraged Shoffner's initial run for State Treasurer in 2006.

According to the Arkansas State Treasury web site, Shoffner was sworn in on January 11, 2011, for her second term as Arkansas Treasurer of State.

Shoffner is scheduled for a federal court hearing Monday, May 20.

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