Originally published on February 21, 2015, at NationofChange.org
After abruptly resigning from office last month, former Pennsylvania State Treasurer Robert “Rob” McCord pleaded guilty this week to two counts of attempted extortion. While running for Governor of Pennsylvania in 2014, McCord attempted to extort campaign contributions from a law firm and a property management company by threatening economic retaliation if they refused to contribute substantial donations to his campaign. Presented with the evidence against him, McCord immediately announced his resignation and began cooperating with law enforcement officials.
Inducted into office on January 2, 2009, McCord served as Pennsylvania State Treasurer until his sudden resignation on January 30, 2015. While serving as Treasurer of Pennsylvania, McCord launched a failed campaign to run for Governor in 2014. During the campaign, McCord abused his position by attempting to extort contributions from firms by threatening to disrupt their financial dealings with the state.
In April and May 2014, McCord targeted the managing partner of a Philadelphia law firm and a Western Pennsylvania property management company for campaign contributions. Attempting to extort a $25,000 donation from a Philadelphia law firm, McCord threatened to financially harm the managing partner by interfering with the firm’s multiple state contracts. Court records do not reveal the name of the law firm or whether they acquiesced to McCord’s demands.
During the same time, McCord attempted to extort $100,000 in campaign contributions from a Western Pennsylvania property management company. Collecting state benefits approved in part by McCord, the property management company received messages from McCord threatening to cut off their funding if they refused to make sizeable donations to his campaign. He also informed the company that the contributions need not be written in the company’s name.