In a legal filing Friday, the government provided fresh information about the investigation that led to Ireland’s indictment this summer on charges of dangling campaign cash and a job offer to obtain lucrative state business handed out by the treasurer.
Mc Cord taped his friend, Ireland, in November and December 2014 after the treasurer had agreed to cooperate with prosecutors but before he publicly admitted extorting campaign contributions and resigned from office.
The government’s legal brief did not identify that treasurer, but the reference was clearly to Barbara Hafer, who is charged with lying to the FBI after denying she had received 5,000 in consulting fees from Ireland after stepping down in 2005.
In that filing, Ireland’s lawyers argued that the prosecutors were improperly trying to criminalize routine campaign contributions and unfairly characterizing them as bribes.
In Friday's pleading, federal prosecutors Phillip Caraballo, Michael Consiglio, William Houser, and Carlo Marchioli rejected that argument, saying that Ireland was seeking an explicit return for his donations in the form of state contracts.
Chester County millionaire Richard Ireland, right, is escorted into the Federal Court Builing in Harrisburg shielded by his bodyguard, Brian Westmoreland, left, as he showed up for his arraignment after being nabbed in the FBI's pay-to-play investigation. Mc Coy is a member of the Inquirer investigative team. Stone Medal, the Selden Ring Award, the Roy Howard Award and has twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
His reporting has examined police mistreatment of rape victims, corruption among Pennsylvania public officials, the high dismissal rate in the Philadelphia criminal courts, among other issues. In nearly 20 secretly recorded conversations, state Treasurer Rob Mc Cord captured a millionaire pay-to-play suspect on tape promising to take “very good care” of Mc Cord and put him on his “payroll” when Mc Cord left office, federal prosecutors say.
Editor's Note: This story was corrected to reflect that Richard Ireland is scheduled to go on trial in March.
Over the past year, the Inquirer, the Daily News and have uncovered corruption in local and state public offices, shed light on hidden and dangerous environmental risks, and deeply examined the region’s growing heroin epidemic.
At one meeting, the prosecutors said, the suspect, Chester County businessman Richard Ireland, gave Mc Cord a handwritten document that summarized their dealings.
It listed the many fees Ireland had garnered over the years from the Treasury Department as well as the 0,000 in yearly campaign donations Ireland gave Mc Cord and others.
For decades, Ireland, 79, has contributed generously to politicians at all levels, from county commissioners to presidential candidates.