Rep. Ty Harrell has been living outside his district for at least a month.
Harrell said he has been living at a friend's house in North Raleigh, more than four miles from his district, District 41. Harrell's wife, Melanie Dupon, sued him for divorce in July over an alleged extramarital affair.
Harrell said he was trying to secure a permanent residence back in his district and planned to move back "within a reasonable time period, as soon as possible."
The state Constitution requires that legislative candidates reside in the district they seek to represent for at least one year. That has been interpreted to mean that office holders must be registered to vote at a residence in their district.
However, under state law a person's voter registration is still valid if they move to another address for "temporary purposes only, with the intention of returning." The law gives no time limit for "temporary."
Johnnie McLean, deputy director of the State Board of Elections, said she did not think Harrell was violating the law as long as he intends to move back within his district.
Harrell's Jaguar was parked in the driveway at his friend's house Wednesday. The legislator answered the door around 1 p.m. wearing a T-shirt and gym shorts.
More after the jump.
In April, Harrell filed a financial disclosure form indicating no changes from the previous year's form. That meant that he was still listing himself as a development officer at Duke University, a job he left in November 2007, according to the university. Harrell filed a corrected form three months later.
Speaker Joe Hackney, a Chapel Hill Democrat, announced his plans to have the Legislative Ethics Committee look into Harrell's campaign finances about an hour after meeting with Harrell on Wednesday. Hackney said he wants the committee to determine if Harrell broke legislative rules or state law.
Hackney's request came after the State Board of Elections began an audit of Harrell's campaign expenses and after Harrell corrected information in his financial disclosure form.
Harrell said he will cooperate with the Board of Elections audit. He said he has hired a "third party, professional organization" to audit his campaign spending.
"We want to make sure we are crystal clean on all this," Harrell said.