It's kind of piling on, admittedly, but we feel compelled to join the call for state Treasurer Martha Shoffner to resign (UPDATE: she did, late Tuesday, after we went to press). Awkwardly compelled, that is. She has not yet been convicted of the criminal charges filed against her, and that's an important point. The presumption of innocence has not been repealed. (Though the current Arkansas legislature is apt to try.) Gov. Mike Beebe, a lawyer himself, addressed the point persuasively in a statement:
"I think Martha Shoffner should resign, and I think she should resign immediately. While everyone is presumed innocent until legal proceedings are complete, it would be very hard for the treasurer's office to function properly under her continued leadership. When you are elected to any public office, your conduct is held to a higher level of expectations to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. These alleged actions are far worse than that."
And the allegations against her are directly related to the duties of the treasurer's office. It's hard to see how the treasurer could effectively manage state investments while she's facing criminal charges of mismanagement of state investments.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel confronted the issue well, also:
"If proven to be true, these actions are a betrayal of her oath to our constitution and to our people. Although Ms. Shoffner is presumed innocent, I believe that she should resign immediately to allow the work of the treasurer's office to continue." Both Beebe and McDaniel are Democrats, as is Shoffner, as are many of the officials calling for her resignation. Even the state chairman of the Democratic Party, Will Bonds, wants her to go. (In or out of office, she'll be a heavy load for the Democrats to carry in next year's elections.) Republicans, of course, are united in demanding her removal, one way or another. If nothing else, she's brought us together.
Even her own lawyer has said she should resign. She may have done so by the time this sees print.