LaRoque Resigns From State House After Indictment

A Lenoir County state legislator, indicted last week by a federal grand jury, has resigned.

Republican Representative Stephen LaRoque submitted his resignation letter to House Speaker Thom Tillis Wednesday afternoon.

LaRoque said his resignation was a "difficult decision", but that he did not want his continued presence in the General Assembly "to be politicized or to distract from the important work that still needs to be done there."

It becomes effective August 1st.

His resignation comes the same day Tillis said he would form a special committee to examine LaRoque's indictment to see if he should be removed from the legislature.

LaRoque was charged with eight counts related to his company's handling of federal loan funds.

LaRoque is chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee. "Today, I believe he has made the right decision to resign and focus solely on the legal matters before him," said Tillis. "This decision is in the best interests of his family, his constituents, and his state."

House District 10 includes parts of Lenoir, Greene and Wayne counties.

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North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis says he will form a special committee to examine last week's federal indictment against a fellow legislator and recommend what action, if any, is warranted by the chamber.

Tillis announced Wednesday the creation of the bipartisan panel that he will name soon to consider the criminal charges against Republican Rep. Stephen LaRoque of Kinston. LaRoque is charged with eight counts related to his company's handling of federal loan funds.

A similar panel that investigated then-Rep. Thomas Wright recommended the House remove him from office, which it did in 2008.

Tillis' announcement follows an initial review by a joint House-Senate ethics committee of the LaRoque indictment. That committee's leaders said much of the alleged activity in the indictment does not fall under the panel's jurisdiction.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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