- Associated Press - Thursday, January 29, 2015

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania state Treasurer Rob McCord is stepping down after six years, his Thursday announcement coming just before it emerged that federal investigators are making inquiries into the campaign-related activity of the Democrat who spent nearly $9 million in an unsuccessful run for governor last year.

A person familiar with the inquiries by authorities confirmed the existence of the probe to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a matter that, thus far, has not been discussed publicly by McCord or the authorities.

In a statement and letter released by his office, the former venture capitalist made no mention of scrutiny by authorities, and gave no reason for leaving his post, saying only that it is time for him to return to the private sector after six years in the job.

“It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve the citizens of the commonwealth as their elected state treasurer for the past six years,” McCord wrote in a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf. “But with my goals at Treasury now achieved - and with a new governor now in office to appoint my successor - it is time for me to return to the private sector, where most of my life’s work has been.”

McCord, 55, will leave office Feb. 12 with two years left in his final term. He did not grant interviews through the treasurer’s office Thursday and there was no answer at his home telephone in Bryn Mawr in the Philadelphia suburbs.

McCord’s pending departure follows soon after his lawsuit with Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman against the NCAA resulted in college sports’ governing body restoring 112 football wins it had stripped from Penn State over the Jerry Sandusky child-molestation scandal. The lawsuit also succeeded in getting other lingering penalties dropped and keeping Penn State’s $60 million fine in Pennsylvania for child-abuse prevention efforts.

Other accomplishments of note, McCord said in the statement through his office, was shoring up Pennsylvania’s Tuition Account Program and increasing revenue to the state from unclaimed assets.

McCord is the second statewide official in Pennsylvania now to facing some sort of official scrutiny. A state grand jury run by a court-appointed prosecutor has recommended charges against Attorney General Kathleen Kane for allegedly giving secret investigative material to a newspaper.

It will be up to Wolf to nominate a successor in treasury, with Senate confirmation, to fill the job through the 2016 election.

Some prominent Democrats and campaign donors said Thursday that they had been unaware of federal inquiries into McCord. A spokesman for Wolf said Thursday that he had been similarly unaware.

In a statement, Wolf thanked McCord for his dedication to the job, wished him well and said McCord had served “honorably and diligently.” Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said McCord had helped the state through “some very rough economic waters.”

House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny, praised McCord’s work.

“He steered Pennsylvania’s treasury through the worst fiscal crisis since the Great Depression,” he said.

McCord was elected in 2008 and 2012 to four-year terms in the treasurer’s office and ran unsuccessfully for governor last year, losing in an expensive and bruising primary to Wolf.

He came in third in a four-person race after raising and spending nearly $9 million. He contributed $2.2 million of his own money to the cause, according to campaign finance reports filed with the state.

The campaign sowed some hard feelings.

McCord had heated words during the Democratic Party’s winter meetings as he mounted an aggressive, but unsuccessful, effort to capture the Democratic Party’s endorsement.

He also raised the issue of race by connecting Wolf to a former York mayor who had been charged with murder, and later acquitted, for allegedly inciting white gang members to kill a black woman during York’s 1969 race riots. A stepbrother also emerged to criticize McCord’s portrayal of himself as the disadvantaged child of a single mother.

Still, he won The Philadelphia Inquirer’s endorsement and the backing of several major labor unions. In his last campaign finance report filed with the state, McCord listed the $2.2 million he spent on his campaign as an unpaid debt.


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