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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Government files more details on former Treasurer Shoffner's use of campaign money

Posted By on Tue, Feb 18, 2014 at 8:38 AM

click to enlarge A SIGHT: Government says glasses Shoffner wore to Audit hearing were gift from favored broker.
  • A SIGHT: Government says glasses Shoffner wore to Audit hearing were gift from favored broker.
The U.S. attorney's office yesterday filed more details of evidence it hopes to introduce into former Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner's trial on taking kickbacks for state bond business. It details her alleged illegal use of campaign money for personal expenses, plus gifts from a favored broker.

The government had attempted to try Shoffner on both the kickback scheme and the illegal campaign money at the same time. But a defense motion to separate the campaign charges was granted. Now it appears the government will attempt to shoehorn in the information from its confidential informant, the bond dealer who allegedly delivered cash to Shoffner in a pie box. He has never been formally identified, but defense documents and our sources have identified him as Steele Stephens, already identified in our past reporting as a major recipient of Shoffner's office business and a host of her campaign fund-raiser.

Here's the latest filing.
It says Shoffner kept $10,000 in campaign donations, including $2,000 from the broker, and also kept $4,000 from the broker, nominally to pay for fund-raiser expenses. It also said he gave her gift cards, a throwaway cell phone for their communications and eyeglasses, including a pair she wore to a Legislative Audit committee meeting at which lawmakers inquired about her state bond investments.

Anticipating objections, the government made several arguments for how this campaign finance evidence is bound up in the separate charges on state business.

Here, the evidence that Shoffner took campaign funds and gifts in these instances for her personal use is relevant to her motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, absence of mistake, or lack of accident regarding the bribery and extortion charges.

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