The head of the state commission that regulates alcohol has taken at least seven trips in the past two years to meet with alcohol company representatives in attractive tourist destinations.
Doug Fox is chairman of the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. The Charlotte Observer reports that the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association paid for the trips.
That group gets more than half of its money from liquor companies, raising questions about possible conflicts of interest.
Fox traveled to places including Guadalajara, Mexico, and Marco Island on Florida's Gulf Coast.
Fox tells the Observer the trips were justified and essential to establishing relationships and learning from others. He compares it to businesses attending trade shows to get ideas.