In the aftermath of Arkansas Martha Shoffner’s court appearance last Monday, May 20, on a federal extortion charge, authorities announced creation of a new task force to investigate complaints of public corruption.
U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer of the Eastern District of Arkansas, and Conner Eldridge, his counterpart from the Western District, said the joint ArkTrust Public Corruption Task Force, will accept and investigate confidential tips on public corruption at the local, state and federal level.
The task force will include the FBI, the Pulaski County sheriff’s office, state police and Little Rock police.
"Public corruption will not be tolerated in the state of Arkansas," Randy Coleman, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Little Rock office, said during a news conference. "The citizens throughout the state of Arkansas deserve to be able to trust their public servants. We are the trustees who serve them."
Officials said the task force will share resources, move quickly on investigations and determine the appropriate force to pursue charges.
"This task force represents work that we’ve done in the past months and years and work we anticipate doing over the coming months and years," Eldridge said. "Unfortunately, this case today … is not the first case in recent months involving bribery, and unfortunately it probably will not be the last. There are a number of investigations ongoing in both districts regarding public corruption."
FBI agents arrested Shoffner at her Newport home Saturday. She appeared in U.S. District Court on Monday and was released on her own recognizance.