CHARLOTTE, NC (AP) - An Associated Press investigation has found that soon after taking office, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina accepted six-figure stock payouts from Tree.com, the corporate parent of the online mortgage broker LendingTree.
The two Republicans served as directors at the Charlotte, North Carolina, company, which regulators have accused of deceiving its customers. Both resigned from Tree.com's board after winning election, which would have rendered their unvested stock worthless had the board not taken special action to provide them early payouts.
Ethics experts tell the AP that the early vesting of shares for elected officials is uncommon and raises significant concerns, though it remains unclear whether it breaks the law.
McCrory and Sanford deny doing anything improper.