Arkansas lawmaker resigns day after guilty plea over funds

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Arkansas lawmaker resigns day after guilty plea over funds
FILE - In this April 18, 2013 file photo, Sen. Jake Files, R-Fort Smith, appears in the Senate chamber at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark. Files, pleaded guilty Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, to federal charges of wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering. Files was accused of misusing $25,000 in state money that had been set aside for local grants. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A top Arkansas lawmaker who pleaded guilty to federal charges that he pocketed thousands of dollars in state funds intended for the construction of a sports complex has resigned.

Republican state Sen. Jake Files submitted a letter of resignation to the governor’s office Tuesday, saying his last day in office will be Feb. 9. Files pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to wire fraud, money laundering and bank fraud charges.

Files has served in the state Senate since 2011 and chairs the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee.

His resignation means there will be three vacancies in the state Senate when lawmakers convene next month. His departure also adds uncertainty to whether there will be enough votes in that chamber to continue the state’s hybrid Medicaid expansion.