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  Two from House under scrutiny
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Last EditedChronicler  May 02, 2007 07:13am
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News DateWednesday, May 2, 2007 01:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionBy J. Andrew Curliss, Staff Writer
The State Board of Elections has scheduled investigative hearings into complaints lodged against two Democratic state House members, Thomas Wright of New Hanover County and Mary McAllister of Cumberland County.

The hearings will be held May 15, state Elections Director Gary Bartlett said. The hearings are the result of complaints filed against the two and a subsequent inquiry by elections officials.

McAllister said she was unaware a hearing had been scheduled.

"I don't know any reason for them to hold a hearing," she said.

Wright could not be reached.

The complaints allege campaign-finance wrongdoing by the campaigns of both -- and both lawmakers are listed in documents as their campaign treasurer. The complaints were filed by Raleigh resident Joe Sinsheimer, a former Democratic consultant who monitors campaign reports.

Wright has been the subject of scrutiny lately. Sinsheimer alleged that Wright purposefully delayed reporting contributions from a landfill operator that was generating controversy in Wilmington until after he had stood for election. Sinsheimer also questioned donations from the N.C. Association of Nurse Anesthetists PAC that appear to have exceeded legal limits.

In addition, an analysis by the Wilmington Star-News showed that political action committees had reported sending the lawmaker nearly $120,000 in contributions that were not reported by Wright.

McAllister is under scrutiny because it appears from her campaign reports that she paid herself with campaign funds when she shouldn't have. McAllister filed a letter with the state that says she has errors in her reports. McAllister had said she would file amended forms, but she hasn't.

The reports show that she has received $13,838 from her campaign since 2004, but that money is listed as repayment to her on loans that add up to only $5,669.
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