McCord issued a statement through his attorneys today that he will plead guilty to federal charges related to campaign finance and resign immediately. He had originally stated he would step down on Feb. 12th.
“Mr. McCord will be pleading guilty to certain federal charges to be filed arising out of his attempts in the spring of 2014 to raise campaign contributions from two potential contributors by communicating that if they failed to make campaign contributions, he could make it difficult for them to do business with the Commonwealth,” McCord’s attorneys Robert Welsh and Catherine Recker of Philadelphia wrote.
They went on to deny reports that their client stole or misused campaign funds.
“Immediately upon being contacted by federal agents about these matters, Mr. McCord acknowledged that he had overstepped the line of legitimate political fundraising,” they continued. “We expect that he will enter a guilty plea to federal charges to be filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in the near future.”
The fact that his original resignation was set for Feb. 12th, as well as the laudatory farewell from Gov. Wolf, suggests that McCord was hiding the cause of his decision to step down and did not tell anyone else the real reason.
The Governor’s spokesman Jeffrey Sheridan (who probably really would’ve like the truth about 24 hours earlier) delivered the following statement from Gov. Wolf:
“This is a sad day for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and for Rob McCord’s family. As elected leaders we should be stewards of democracy and we should act to protect hardworking taxpayers, not take advantage of them. This type of behavior leads to the erosion of the public’s trust – it is simply unacceptable. I stand firm in my commitment to restore the public’s trust in their government. Therefore, I will act as quickly as possible to present a nominee to the Senate of the highest caliber and capability.”
Update: McCord has released the following video statement (courtesy of WTAE-TV):
Update 2: McCord’s successor Christopher Craig has been sworn in:
Christopher Craig has taken oath and been sworn in, as of 4:35 p.m., in front of a group of Treasury employees
— Kate Giammarise (@KateGiammarise) January 30, 2015