House Expels Wright
Special Report - March 20, 2008
For the first time since 1880, the North Carolina House of Representatives has expelled one of its own members. Just before noon on Thursday, March 20, the State House voted 1095 to expel Thomas Wright, a Wilmington Democrat serving in his eighth term in the House. The action comes at the recommendation of a special House committee that was appointed to investigate allegations of Wright’s mishandling of nearly $340,000 in charitable and campaign contributions.
The House Select Committee unanimously agreed to six different charges against Wright for “conduct unbecoming and unfitting a member of the House of Representatives.” Those charges include: Wright pocketing for his personal use $8,900 in contributions to the Community’s Health Foundation, a charitable organization in Wilmington headed by Wright; the failure of Wright to report approximately $180,000 in campaign contributions received between 2000 and 2007; and a $150,000 bank loan that Wright allegedly obtained under false pretenses for the Community’s Health Foundation. Prior to the vote on expulsion, Rep. Earl Jones (D-Guilford) offered an amendment to censure Wright instead of expelling him from the House. This amendment failed by a 12102 vote.
Wright also faces a criminal trial, which is scheduled to begin around the end of the month.
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