Arizona state treasurer pleads guilty, will resign over failure to report $4,200 in commissions

Wednesday, October 25th 2006, 9:55 pm
By: News On 6

PHOENIX (AP) -- State Treasurer David Petersen pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor state charge of failing to report $4,200 in commissions for selling character-education materials to schools and will resign.

Petersen agreed to step down by Dec. 1, the date of his sentencing. The charge carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail, a fine up to $2,500 and other costs.

The plea concluded a months-long investigation that originally centered on allegations of theft, fraud and conflict of interest.

No evidence was found to warrant charges of misusing public money, Attorney General Terry Goddard said.

"We're resolving the issues. We investigated them thoroughly," Goddard said. "What he did, he was charged with."

Petersen declined through his attorney to comment after the hearing.

Citing the investigation, Petersen announced in June that he would not seek a second term.

Petersen, 56, was elected treasurer in 2002. The Republican previously served in the state Senate and has championed character education as a legislator and treasurer.

Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano will appoint a replacement to serve until the next treasurer takes office in January. Because Petersen is a Republican, an appointed replacement also would have to be a Republican.