RALEIGH — Federal investigators closed a two-year investigation into U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger’s dealings with his family’s business without filing charges.
Lia Bantavani, a spokeswoman for western North Carolina’s top federal prosecutor, said in an email Thursday that the Justice Department has ended its investigation.
The third-term Republican congressman released a statement late Wednesday saying he’s glad the probe is over.
“We have lived lives of integrity and are grateful to have this behind us,” said Pittenger, whose 9th District stretches along the state line from the edge of Charlotte to areas southeast of Fayetteville and includes all of Robeson County. “We respect the professionalism of the government in this thorough investigation.”
The congressman has said that FBI agents spoke to employees at Pittenger Land Investments and requested information in 2015. He also said that he cut ties with the company right after he was elected to the U.S. House in 2012, with his wife continuing to run it before it was eventually taken over by another firm.
At one time, Pittenger Land Investments said on its website that it had acquired more than $250 million in undeveloped land in Charlotte; Austin, Texas; Tennessee; and along the South Carolina coast.
At Pittenger’s request, the House Ethics Committee launched a probe in late 2015 into whether the company improperly compensated him. House rules generally prohibit paid work in fiduciary services such as accounting, real estate or the law. The rules make some exceptions for relationships with family-owned businesses.
The committee said in a January report that it was delaying any action at the Justice Department’s request. The panel’s chief counsel, Tom Rust, declined further comment Thursday.