The Prosecution of Martha Shoffner

Phyl Campbell By Phyl Campbell, 8th Jun 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>Politics

Martha Shoffner, former Arkansas Treasurer, has been denied a guilty plea on extortion charges and will face 14 counts of bribery and extortion charges June 27. The penalty for conviction of these charges could include 30 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each count of bribery or extortion.

Did she do it? And did she know what she was doing?

In my humble opinion -- yes and yes. She knew she was taking money under the table and doing favors for people in exchange for that money.
However -- as much as I love my state, honesty is not immediately evident in our government. President "Slick Willy" made his home in Arkansas. Sports teams, university presidents, WalMart, Tyson, JB Hunt, Reynold's Aluminum -- more people in higher up places have something to hide more often than not. Some of their activities are legal. Some are not. There may not be 50 Shades of Grey, but really all you need is one.

The bigger problem I have here...

I don't feel that the potential punishments fit the crime(s) here. Shoffner took multiple payments of $6,000, if the allegation proves true. And for this $6,000, she could be expected to pay a fine of $250,000? And that is true of each count? And this is happening in the same window of time as banks being too big to fail and bank presidents being too big to jail, banks paying smaller percentages of interest than students paying back student loans, and don't even get me started on usurious credit card interest payments. It's bad enough that Arkansas often has backward seeming governmental practices, but if indicted, I think Shoffner is going to quickly turn from criminal to martyr, in a spin Martha Stewart also knows very well.

And why not?

Frankly, until more people in government start listening to and following the advice of Elizabeth Warren, this country is going to continue to have major economic problems. Indicting Shoffner, spending the money on her trial and trying to recoup the damages, will not undo the damage of the business lost by those who did not bribe Shoffner, the employees working for those companies who did not win bids and had to be laid off, or the families of those employees who were out of work and trying to make ends meet. The fines Shoffner will have to pay if she loses her court battle, which is expected, will not be going to the benefit of people actually hurt by her actions. And unless prison proves too much for the former treasurer and she dies, becoming a martyr for backwoods southern politics, then like the other Martha, book deals, speaking engagements, and other ways to capitalize on her "good girl in a bad situation" experience will ensure that she doesn't learn anything, either.


Ar Government, Martha Shoffner Extortion

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
I am "Author, Mother, Dreamer." I am also teacher, friend, Dr. Pepper addict, night-owl. Visit my website -- -- or the "Phyl Campbell Author Page" on Facebook.

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author avatar philpalm
11th Jun 2013 (#)

It was not an easy call Phyl, and basically I see no easy solution but to have more folks like Elizabeth Warren trying to help focus people on the real issues.

Yes I moan the loss of honest business men who lost their bid because they didn't pay a bribe.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
11th Jun 2013 (#)

Agreed. Thanks for the comment!

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