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Ethics Commission examining fraternization among lobbyists and aides

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The North Carolina State Ethics Commission is examining whether two lobbyists who had relationships with aides of House Speaker Thom Tillis - or the lobbyists' clients - broke state laws.

The commission wrote to Jessica Hayes and Dean Plunkett letting them know the commission is investigating whether they violated the state's gift-giving ban by lobbyists and failed to accurately report expenses. The News & Observer of Raleigh and WRAL-TV reported they obtained copies of the letters.

Hayes resigned from her job in April after it was disclosed she had been in a relationship with Tillis chief of staff Charles Thomas. Tillis policy adviser Amy Hobbs offered her resignation after the speaker said later she had a similar relationship with a lobbyist later identified as Plunkett.

Thomas and Hobbs both resigned.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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