Steen says he can’t comment on alleged bribe from lobbyist
Staff and wire reports
N.C. Rep. Fred Steen said Tuesday he still can’t comment on allegations that a lobbyist for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina offered what the legislator perceived as a possible bribe in exchange for killing a bill.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield said Monday the Wake County District Attorney’s Office was no longer looking at the matter after the State Bureau of Investigation concluded its probe of Ken Wright.
Steen, a Republican from Rowan County, said he had not been informed by the District Attorney’s Office or the SBI that the case had been closed.
Steen went to the House Joint Legislative Ethics Committee in May to report what he considered a potentially improper offer related to a bill Steen sponsored that would create stricter rules for health insurance companies trying to recover overpayments to physicians.
The legislation ó which is in the Senate after being approved in the House ó came about after Dr. Eric Troyer of China Grove asked for Steen’s help with Blue Cross, which said it had overpaid Troyer by $400,000 and sought to recover the money.
The ethics committee named neither the lobbyist nor the lawmaker. The company identified Wright on Monday for the first time.
In an e-mail to the Post, Blue Cross spokesman said the company is “pleased with the outcome and the case is now closed.”
Wright was to return to lobbying the General Assembly Monday.