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RALEIGH (AP) — House Speaker Joe Hackney is calling on a legislative ethics panel to decide whether Representative Thomas Wright broke ethics rules.

Hackney made the request Wednesday evening, hours after he stopped short of calling on Wright to resign.

It was on Tuesday that state elections officials handed Wright's case to prosecutors for possible criminal charges.

Hackney says he will ask the Joint Legislative Committee on Ethics to decide whether evidence presented at the State Board of Elections hearing warrants an investigation into whether Wright violated legislative ethics rules.

The state Republican Party and campaign reform advocates called on Wright to give up his legislative seat after investigators presented evidence showing he may have spent more than 240-thousand dollars in campaign donations on personal expenses.

As he left the House floor session this evening, Wright told reporters he would not resign his House seat, adding: "Why should I?"

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


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