Charlotte’s WBTV reports that former congressman and current chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party has been indicted on charges of directing illegal campaign contributions to North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey in an attempt to bribe him. Greg Lindbergh, a Durham businessman and two of Lindbergh’s associates were also indicted.
The indictment, based on an investigation which has been ongoing since at least August 2018, alleges that the contributions were made “in exchange for the removal of NCDOI’s Senior Deputy Commissioner, who was responsible for overseeing regulation and the periodic examination of ” a company owned by Lindbergh. Causey was working with federal authorities and was charged in the indictment. WBTV previously reported that Causey made secret recordings of a meeting with Hayes, Lindbergh, and another person.
NCGOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse confirmed to WBTV last year that the state Republican Party had made a $240,000 payment to Causey’s campaign but said that the donation was legal. The $240,000 was a portion of a donation to the state party that was made by Lindbergh.
The four men under indictment are charged with conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and aiding and abetting. Hayes is also charged with three counts of making false statements to the FBI.
The North Carolina GOP has been saddled with accusations of voter fraud relating to the 2018 election of Mark Harris. The evidence of fraudulent absentee ballots was so overwhelming that the state board of elections has called for a new election.
The Republican scandals in the Tar Heel State have serious implications for the national party. North Carolina has become something of a swing state. Barack Obama won North Carolina in 2008 while Donald Trump carried the state by only four points in 2016.
The scandal may aid Democrats in their quest to capture the Senate as well. Thom Tillis, one of the state’s two Republican senators, is up for reelection next year. Tillis has served only one term after defeating Democrat Kay Hagan in the Republican wave of 2014.