Democratic Leader Wants House To Examine LaRoque

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 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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