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Wake County prosecutor asks SBI to investigate Wright's finances


RALEIGH (AP) -- The SBI has initiated a criminal probe of Representative Thomas Wright, one week after elections officials concluded he may have broken state campaign finance laws.

Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby says he requested the SBI investigation after examining information sent to him this week by the State Board of Elections.

Board investigators found that Wright accepted nearly $221,000 in campaign contributions that he did not report between 2000 and 2006. Investigators also say he didn't report hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign expenses, including more than $240,000 that was apparently used to pay for personal items.

The board also questions how Wright obtained a loan for a community health foundation he led in Wilmington.

Wright isn't charged with any crimes. He says he won't resign from the House despite calls to do so by several leading Democrats, including Governor Easley and House Speaker Joe Hackney.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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