A federal grand jury has indicted Hayes on conspiracy and bribery charges for their attempts to influence N.C. Insurance commissioner Mike Causey. By
A federal grand jury has indicted North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes and a major GOP campaign donor on conspiracy and bribery charges for their attempts to influence N.C. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey.
The indictment accuses Hayes, a former congressman, of trying to funnel bribe money to Causey’s re-election campaign. Hayes is also charged with three counts of making false statements to the FBI. Hayes had announced Monday that he wouldn’t seek another term as NC GOP chairman, a decision he attributed to health concerns.
The indictment comes amid an investigation into the political donor, Greg Lindberg, by U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray. Lindberg has given millions of dollars to Republican groups in recent years, McClatchy newspapers have reported. He has also given money to Democrats.
Four people — Hayes, Lindberg, John D. Gray and John V. Palermo — were charged in the case, and all four made their first appearances in court Tuesday, the same day the indictment was unsealed. The four are accused of trying to bribe Causey with $2 million in campaign contributions to get him to take actions favorable to one of Lindberg’s companies — including the removal of an insurance department employee responsible for regulating that firm.
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They’re charged with conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud (a charge generally associated with the behavior of public officials) as well as bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and aiding and abetting.
Each of the four pleaded not guilty.
The indictment says Causey contacted federal law enforcement officials with concerns about political contributions in January 2018 and has cooperated with the ongoing FBI investigation since then.
The indictment mentions another person in contact with Lindberg and Causey — “Public Official A” — but doesn’t name them or mention charges. Politico reported Tuesday afternoon that the official is Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Walker. Politico identified Walker using the indictment and records from the Federal Election Commission, the outlet reported.
Walker’s press secretary, Jack Minor, said Tuesday that the congressman “is not and never has been a target of this investigation, and has committed no wrongdoing. He has assisted the DOJ.”
Each of the four people charged was released on $100,000 bond, on the condition that they turn in their passports and report any travel to federal probation officials.
Hayes, 73, represented North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District from 1999 to 2009. He appeared in federal court Tuesday using a walker. His lawyers told federal magistrate David Kessler that he had surgery in February and that his mobility is limited.
The NC GOP has been cooperating with the federal investigation for months but didn’t learn about the indictments until early Tuesday, party legal counsel Josh Howard said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.
”Early this morning, the North Carolina Republican Party was made aware of several indictments surrounding the conduct of a major donor to both major political parties and two of his associates,” Howard…