Wright Hearing Ends in Raleigh

Rep. Thomas Wright
Rep. Thomas Wright

RALEIGH -- The hearing into Thomas Wright's campaign funds is over, and it didn't end the way Wright wanted. The case is now in the hands of the Wake County District Attorney.

The North Carolina Board of Elections scheduled three days of hearings into how the Wilmington Democrat took in and spent political money. But the hearing took only a matter of hours and ended shortly after an investigator said Wright apparently pocketed tens of thousands of dollars in campaign funds for personal use.

He's also accused of taking contributions directly from corporations, which is against state law.

Investigators also said Wright didn't correctly disclose contributions from backers of the Hugo Neu landfill.

Political watchdog Joe Sinsheimer filed the original complaint against Wright. He says if the Democrat can't keep track of his own money, he shouldn't be in charge of the taxpayers' money.

"We give 170 people the responsibilities of dividing up 20 billion dollars of taxpayers' money, and if Representative Wright can't get campaign finances together, he doesn't deserve to be in Raleigh at all," said Sinsheimer.

Wright refused to testify Tuesday, citing the fifth amendment to the Constitution. There's no indication how long it will take prosecutors to decide whether to file criminal charges against Wright.

Reported by Sarah Warlick