Federal charges are not to be taken lightly, as they often arise from serious accusations and can be punished severely in the event of conviction. Whether a crime is tried on the state or federal level can depend on a number of factors. Furthermore, while federal penalties are often more severe, this can vary from state to state, depending on the crime. Even so, a federal charge can have severe repercussions for your personal and professional life.
Coming under suspicion for involvement in a federal crime can be damaging to anyone's prospects. However, for someone in a position of power or influence, it can be particularly devastating. Even suspected criminality can be highly damaging to their reputation and may even cost them their post. Furthermore, all this is before you even consider the possibility of conviction and the legal repercussions thereof.