DALLAS – Former Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner pleaded innocent Thursday to federal bribery and extortion counts at her arraignment in Little Rock.
Shoffner’s trial on 14 charges relating to the state’s bond investment portfolio is set to begin July 29.
Shoffner said little except “not guilty” in response to the charges read by U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe Volpe.
In a brief exchange outside the courtroom, Shoffner told reporters she was “moving forward” and would prove her innocence at the trial.
Shoffner was indicted June 5 by a federal grand jury after being arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation May 18 at her home in Newport, Ark. She resigned as treasurer May 21.
She is accused of accepting at least $36,000 from an investment broker in exchange for shifting to him a large portion of the state’s bond investment transactions.
The Legislative Audit Division said in December 2012 that Shoffner’s office lost $783,835 through eight premature bonds sales by a broker in Russellville, Ark.
The broker, Steele Stephens, was responsible for $1.7 billion of the state’s investment bond transactions since 2008. Stephens has since resigned from St. Bernard Financial Services.
Shoffner conceded that she received the money, but denied that it influenced her official decisions as treasurer.
The Arkansas Legislative Council last week approved a $215,000 contract with a Chicago-based investment consultant to review transactions during Shoffner’s terms as treasurer.
Shoffner, a Democrat and former state legislator, was elected to her first four-year term as state treasurer in 2006. She was re-elected in 2010.