By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Former Pennsylvania state treasurer Rob McCord pleaded guilty today in federal court to two counts of attempting to extort donations during his unsuccessful Democratic primary campaign for governor last year.

As McCord stood before a federal judge in Harrisburg and listened, a prosecutor detailed how McCord used the threat of his office in an effort to get campaign donations from a Philadelphia-based law firm and a western Pennsylvania property management firm, both of which had business with the state.

One by one, the judge went through a long list of questions, to make sure McCord understood the implications of his guilty plea, and setting a late June date for a pre-sentencing conference with attorneys.

The prosecutor told the judge he would recommend a reduction in sentence as a result of McCord’s plea, but the judge reminded the former treasurer that he, the judge, will make the final decision on a sentence.

The maximum sentence is 20 years in prison for each of two counts of extortion to which McCord has pleaded guilty.  He is free for now on his own recognizance.