North Carolina GOP Chair, Donor Charged in Bribery Scheme

April 2, 2019 by Dan McCue
Gavel and scales

A federal grand jury has indicted the chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party and a major Republican campaign donor on conspiracy and bribery charges related to a bid to curry favor with the state’s insurance commissioner.

Robert Cannon “Robin” Hayes represented North Carolina’s 8th congressional district from 1999 to 2009, and was the Republican nominee for Governor of North Carolina in 1996.

He served as chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party from 2011 to 2013, and again starting on April 30, 2016.

On Tuesday, Hayes was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, one count of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and aiding and abetting and three counts of false statements to the FBI.

Only 24 hours earlier he announced he won’t seek re-election as the state Republican Party’s chairman in June, a decision he attributed to ill health.

According to federal prosecutors, Hayes, insurance magnate Greg Lindberg, and two of his associates planned to give state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey hefty donations “in exchange for specific official action favorable to” Lindberg’s business.

The contributions were to be funneled through the state GOP and an independent committee the conspirators allegedly created just for that purpose.

Among the things Lindberg wanted were the removal of a deputy insurance commissioner responsible for examining one of Lindberg’s Durham-based businesses, Global Bankers Insurance Group.

Lindberg is quoted in the indictment as complaining to Causey that the unnamed deputy insurance commissioner had been “deliberately and intentionally and maliciously hurting my reputation with other regulators.”

Lindberg has given more than $5 million to North Carolina candidates, party committees and independent expenditure groups since 2017.

According to the indictment and a press release from the Justice Department, between April 2017 and August 2018, Lindberg sought to shower Republican state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey with donations.

Lindberg, political consultant John Gray, and John Palermo, an executive for another Lindberg company, Eli Global LLC, and a former Chatham County Republican Party chairman, met with Causey at least five times in the winter and spring of 2018 to discuss favors and money, prosecutors said.

Lindberg’s team urged Causey to hire Palermo to replace the investigating deputy commissioner, prosecutors said.

Causey eventually refused, fearing Palermo’s ties to Lindberg’s company would be exposed by journalists, the indictment said.

Lindberg then proposed “we recruit someone brand new to the Department with the same skill set,” the indictment said.

Palermo then created an independent expenditure committee able to spend unlimited amounts on political campaigns with limited public disclosure that was funded with $1.5 million of Lindberg’s money, prosecutors said. In all, Lindberg and his associates promised Causey $2 million in donations.

Hayes, prosecutors said, directed that $250,000 previously contributed to the state GOP by Lindberg be transferred to Causey’s re-election campaign. In October, as the federal investigation was building steam, Causey turned over $250,000 in campaign donations from the state GOP to U.S. Marshals.

Lindberg also had donated $5,000 directly to Causey’s campaign, but the commissioner returned the money.

Causey, who was first elected to a four-year term in 2016, was not charged in the indictment, apparently because he voluntarily reported the scheme.

“Thanks to the voluntary reporting of the North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance, we have uncovered an alleged scheme to violate our federal public corruption laws,” said U.S. Attorney Murray in a written statement.  

All four of the accused men appeared before a federal magistrate on Tuesday.

In The News

Health

Voting

Law

Corruption Cases Against Public Officials, Law Enforcement Rising
Crime
Corruption Cases Against Public Officials, Law Enforcement Rising
May 4, 2021
by TWN Staff

Prosecutions for "official" corruption -- a catch-all meaning bribery, graft, conflicts of interest and other violations by federal, state, local officials and law enforcement -- have been rising steadily during the first six months of FY 2021, according to a report from the Transactional Records Access... Read More

$1.6 MIllion to Go to Protesters at 2017 Inauguration
Law
$1.6 MIllion to Go to Protesters at 2017 Inauguration
May 3, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The District of Columbia government this week agreed to pay $1.6 million to settle two lawsuits by protesters during the January 2017 presidential inauguration of Donald Trump. In one of the lawsuits, six demonstrators represented by the ACLU of the District of Columbia will... Read More

Feds Raid Giuliani's Home, Office, Escalating Criminal Probe
Law Enforcement
Feds Raid Giuliani's Home, Office, Escalating Criminal Probe

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal agents raided Rudy Giuliani's Manhattan home and office Wednesday, seizing computers and cellphones in a major escalation of the Justice Department's investigation into the business dealings of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer. Giuliani, the 76-year-old former New York City mayor... Read More

Senate OKs Bill to Fight Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans
Congress
Senate OKs Bill to Fight Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a bill that would help combat the rise of hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, a bipartisan denunciation of such violence during the coronavirus pandemic and a modest step toward legislating in a chamber where... Read More

Haaland Announces Indian Affairs Bureau Missing and Murdered Unit
Interior
Haaland Announces Indian Affairs Bureau Missing and Murdered Unit
April 21, 2021
by Reece Nations

WASHINGTON — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced a new division of the Missing and Murdered Unit will operate within the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services. The new unit will direct federal resources in unsolved investigations into cases of missing and murdered... Read More

Jury Finds Chauvin Guilty of All Charges in Floyd Killing
Law
Jury Finds Chauvin Guilty of All Charges in Floyd Killing
April 20, 2021
by Dan McCue

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of all charges in the murder trial of George Floyd, whose death led to months of demonstrations against police brutality last summer. Chauvin was charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder; and second-degree manslaughter. The end... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top