State GOP chair steps down after bribery charges

(WITN)
Published: Apr. 2, 2019 at 12:28 PM EDT
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North Carolina's Republican Party chairman is giving up party control as he faces criminal charges that he and a major donor tried to bribe the state's top insurance regulator.

The state GOP said Wednesday that Robin Hayes will give up operational control to a regional party leader from western North Carolina. Aubrey Woodard has headed the Republican organization in the 11th Congressional District.

Hayes will keep the title of chairman until a new election for the post in June.

Hayes, investment firm founder Greg Lindberg and two Lindberg associates are facing federal bribery and wire fraud charges after prosecutors say they sought to funnel up to $2 million in campaign funds to the state's insurance commissioner money. Prosecutors say Lindberg wanted special treatment for his insurance companies.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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North Carolina GOP Chairman Robin Hayes and investment firm founder Greg Lindberg are among four people facing federal bribery and wire fraud charges.

In federal indictments, prosecutors say that in a series of clandestine meetings in closed restaurants and small airport terminals, the pressured insurance magnate and his associates offered North Carolina's insurance commissioner money for special treatment.

Hayes also was charged with lying to the FBI. The 73-year-old former congressman announced Monday that he wouldn't seek re-election as party chairman, citing health problems.

Lindberg - largely unknown politically until his contributions started flowing heavily in 2017 - has given more than $5 million to North Carolina candidates, party committees and independent expenditure groups.

The four defendants appeared Tuesday before a federal magistrate.


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The North Carolina elected official who helped a criminal probe that led to charges against the state Republican Party chairman and a big-time donor says he acted at the direction of federal investigators.

Republican state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey talked to The Associated Press on Tuesday, shortly after a federal grand jury's indictment against four people was made public.

The indictment describes Causey as being involved in conversations and meetings with investment firm founder Greg Lindberg, Lindberg's associates and state GOP Chairman Robin Hayes. Prosecutors said they promised Causey campaign dollars in exchange for things Lindberg wanted.

Causey wasn't charged. He says he's not the target of any investigation. He says he had contacted federal investigators because his agency was having issues with Lindberg's insurance-related firms.

Causey previously returned a donation from Lindberg. Causey took other donations from the state GOP, which had connections to Lindberg, and gave them to the federal government.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


Previous Story

The chairman of North Carolina's Republican Party and a secretive big-money donor are facing federal bribery and wire fraud charges. They're accused of trying to sway an insurance regulator's decisions in favor of the donor's insurance companies.

State GOP Chairman Robin Hayes and investment firm founder Greg Lindberg are among four people charged in federal indictments unsealed Tuesday.

Hayes and a Lindberg spokesman didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Federal prosecutors said Hayes, Lindberg and two Lindberg associates promised or gave Republican Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey millions of campaign dollars to do things Lindberg wanted, such as seeking the removal of a deputy insurance commissioner responsible for examining Lindberg's Durham-based business.

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

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)