The top North Carolina House Democrat wants a commission to examine allegations involving a Republican colleague who runs two economic development nonprofit groups that receive millions of dollars in federal funds.
House Minority Leader Joe Hackney wrote Speaker Thom Tillis on Wednesday asking him to create a panel to look into the business practices of Rep. Stephen LaRoque of Lenoir County. Hackney said the commission should be bipartisan in membership and leadership.
LaRoque would not comment to The Associated Press. He's defended his work previously with the nonprofits that have received federal money to make small business loans in rural areas.
A liberal-leaning watchdog group North Carolina Policy Watch alleged earlier this year LaRoque was paid high salaries from the nonprofits and made loans to close associates, including two lawmakers.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Last week it was reported in NC Policy Watch dot com that LaRoque’s federally-funded non-profit will pay thousands in contempt of court fines as part of the state lawmaker’s agreement to dismiss a defamation lawsuit against a political opponent.
LaRoque dismissed a defamation lawsuit last Tuesday that he filed a year ago against the state Democratic Party and Van Braxton, the Democratic opponent that LaRoque unseated in the November 2010 elections.
The East Carolina Development Company, the small economic development non-profit founded by LaRoque in 1997, will pay $17,250 to Braxton’s lawyers for failing to turn over key documents in court proceedings, according to court documents.
Written by Bill Johnston with reports from The Associated Press and NC Policy Watch.