- Associated Press - Thursday, July 21, 2016

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The Latest on a pay-to-play investigation involving the Pennsylvania state Treasury Department (all times local):

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3:50 p.m.

The defense lawyer for a businessman accused of trying to influence a state treasurer’s decisions through secret campaign contributions is issuing a blanket denial.

Harrisburg attorney Joshua Lock said Thursday that federal charges against Richard Ireland are based on half-truths, distortions and innuendo.

Lock is predicting Ireland will be vindicated in the case that involves 79 criminal counts.

Prosecutors allege Ireland tried to bribe former Treasurer Rob McCord with over $500,000 in secret campaign contributions between 2009 and 2014.

Former Pennsylvania state Treasurer Barbara Hafer also faces charges for allegedly making false statements to federal agents about payments from a businessman who shared in asset management fees paid by the Treasury Department while Hafer was in office.

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11:35 a.m.

Former Pennsylvania Treasurer Barbara Hafer is facing federal charges in a pay-to-play investigation that authorities say also ensnared a businessman who shared in millions of dollars in treasury fees.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Harrisburg said Thursday that it charged Hafer with making false statements to federal agents.

She allegedly concealed payments of $500,000 from a businessman who shared in asset management fees paid by the Treasury Department while Hafer was in office.

The payments allegedly began within weeks of Hafer leaving office in 2005.

Prosecutors also charged suburban Philadelphia businessman Richard Ireland with 79 counts. They say he tried to bribe former Treasurer Rob McCord with over $500,000 in secret campaign contributions between 2009 and 2014.

Lawyers for Hafer and Ireland didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.

McCord took office in 2009 and resigned from office last year before pleading guilty to attempted extortion involving campaign contributions to his failed gubernatorial campaign in 2014.

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10:35 a.m.

A second former Pennsylvania state treasurer is facing federal charges in a long-running pay-to-play investigation.

Ex-two-term treasurer Barbara Hafer is charged with two counts of making false statements to federal agents.

Prosecutors say Hafer concealed payments of $500,000 from a businessman who had shared in fees charged by private asset managers contracted by the state Treasury Department while she was in office.

Prosecutors say the payments began within weeks of Hafer leaving office in 2005, when she was working as a consultant, and didn’t require her to achieve any particular result.

A message left on Hafer’s cellphone seeking her comment was not immediately returned.

Last year, then-Treasurer Rob McCord resigned before pleading guilty two counts of attempted extortion in a campaign finance-related case.

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