AP NEWS

NC lawyer gets probation in plea to lobbying-related charges

January 28, 2020 GMT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — An attorney received probation and will be disbarred after pleading guilty to lobbying-related charges that include criminal contempt and obstruction of justice, North Carolina regulators said.

Mark Bibbs, a Raleigh lawyer, also pleaded guilty to four counts of unregistered lobbying in Wake County Superior Court on Monday, according to Secretary of State Elaine Marshall’s office.

Bibbs was indicted in 2018 on charges he lobbied legislators on behalf of a bail bonds company without properly registering, The Insider news service reported. He had also been accused of lying about his actions to investigators with the Secretary of State, which oversees government lobbying.

Bibbs also is disqualified as a lobbyist, Marshall’s office said.

“This guilty plea upholds the public’s right to know who is being paid to influence governmental action as well as the legislator’s right to know who is being paid to influence them,” Marshall said in a news release.

Bibbs had lobbied legislators in 2016 to oppose a measure that made changes to bail bonds regulations and expanded the power of the insurance commissioner to discipline bail bond agents.

Bibbs said Monday in an email statement that “I do not believe that I committed any crime” but made the plea agreement to “put my children first.” He accused Marshall of wasting taxpayer money and resources “going after me and trying to ruin my reputation.”

Marshall’s office said cases involving two other indicted individuals in the matter are pending, while three notaries public have been sanctioned.