The Republican Party here in North Carolina has a list of horribles that only Trump could admire. Their antics have been covered in depth regarding their blatant racist gerrymandering, their attempts to neuter the Democratic governor, the current election scandal, or and overt racist voter suppression.
But now they are getting caught — and not politically, but by the law:
Federal prosecutors have unsealed an indictment charging North Carolina State Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes and three associates in an alleged bribery scheme involving campaign contributions to the state insurance commissioner.
Hayes, along with political and business figures Greg Lindberg, John Gray and John Palermo, made initial appearances in US District Court in Charlotte Tuesday.
“The indictment unsealed today outlines a brazen bribery scheme in which Greg Lindberg and his co-conspirators allegedly offered hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions in exchange for official action that would benefit Lindberg’s business interests,” Brian Benczkowski, the assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s criminal division, said in a news release.
The March 18 indictment charges Hayes, Lindberg, Gray and Palermo with wire fraud as well as bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and aiding and abetting. Hayes also has been charged with making false statements. CNN has reached out to their attorneys.
Hayes “steadfastly denies the allegations made against him in this case,”said Kearns Davis, his attorney.
“After a long and distinguished career in public service at the local, state, and federal levels, Robin volunteered his time helping to support the party and candidates for office in North Carolina. We look forward to a swift conclusion to this matter, and to clearing his name,” Davis said in a statement Tuesday.
Anne Tompkins, an attorney for Lindberg, said he maintains his innocence.
“Greg Lindberg is innocent of the charges in the indictment and we look forward to demonstrating this when we get our day in court,” Tompkins said.
The alleged scheme was to pay the commissioner of the North Carolina Department of Insurance at least $1.5 million in exchange for making staff changes, among other things, the court documents say.
Republican Rep. Mark Walker has been caught up in the federal corruption probe.
A Walker-controlled political committee received $150,000 from business owner Greg Lindberg at the same time Lindberg allegedly asked him to pressure North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey to replace his deputy, according to the criminal indictment.
Walker, a member of GOP leadership, is not named in the indictment. However, POLITICO identified him as “Public Official A” using the indictment and Federal Election Commission records.
Texts and emails released by the DOJ said Walker was part of Lindberg’s scheme to pressure Causey over the personnel move. Causey alerted law enforcement officials to what was happening in January 2018, according to the indictment.
The indictment mentions several contacts Walker reportedly had with Causey in support of Lindberg’s secret campaign.
“Just between the 3 of us … [Public Official A] has already made two calls on our behalf and is trying to help us move the ball forward,” one of Lindberg’s associates wrote in a Feb. 12, 2018, email to Lindberg, according to the indictment. “I was also told that the $150,000 will be going to [Public Official A].”
I’m calling it. The swamp is the GOP.