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Ethics Commission could open investigation into Tillis' office

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TWC News: Ethics Commission could open investigation into Tillis' office
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RALEIGH -- The N.C. Ethics Commission could begin an investigation into Speaker of the House Thom Tillis' office. Friday's the commission's quarterly meeting. There's a chance they may address Democrats request to investigate the romantic relationships between two of Tillis' staffers and two lobbyists.

The Ethics Commission says all complaints are kept confidential. But, we do know Democratic leaders are asking the commission to see if any ethics laws were broken by Tillis' staffers.

Last month, we learned Tillis' Chief of Staff Charles Thomas was having an affair with a lobbyist for the North Carolina Homebuilders Association. Days later, a second Tillis staffer resigned after a romantic relationship with another lobbyist came to light.

Tillis called the scandal "an embarrassment." The two staffers have resigned and Tillis does not believe any ethics laws were broken.

"This was not a legislative decision process that was compromised," he said. "It was two really bad decisions that were made."

Still, state Democrats want the Ethics Commission and Legislative Ethics Committee to investigate the relationships. They want to know if the decisions made by Tillis' office happened as a result of unreported or illegal gift-giving between the speaker’s staff and lobbyists with specific agendas.

Lobbyists also follow a strict set of rules. The Lobbyist Association says they're not sure if more rules are needed to prevent something like this from happening again.

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