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Ark. treasurer faces extortion charges

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas state treasurer was accused Monday of taking at least $36,000 in cash — sometimes stashed in a pie box — from a broker who later came to manage a large share of the state’s $3.3 billion stock and bond portfolio.

Martha Shoffner, a Democrat who made her initial court appearance Monday, said she had no plans to resign despite calls by Republicans and Democrats alike for her to step down.

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

Federal prosecutors allege that Shoffner accepted $12,000 a year from a broker, who would sometimes deliver cash in a pie box, pie included. The broker is cooperating with investigators.

‘‘The allegations against Ms. Shoffner are serious and they completely erode the public trust that we put in our elected officials, if they prove to be true.’’ US Attorney Chris Thyer said at a news conference.

Shoffner told reporters outside the courthouse Monday that she does not intend to resign. She was reelected in 2010 and has faced inquiries over the past year about the way her office has handled state investments.

She did not enter a plea Monday, and her attorney, Chuck Banks, said she would plead not guilty at the appropriate time. A federal grand jury will decide whether to indict Shoffner, who is charged with attempting and conspiracy to commit extortion.

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