The Latest: Bribery suspect backed other NC politicos
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on charges that North Carolina’s Republican Party chairman and a major donor sought to bribe the state’s top insurance regulator to secure special treatment (all times local):
Federal bribery and conspiracy charges against a major North Carolina political donor is increasing scrutiny of other politicians he supported.
Federal prosecutors say investment firm founder Greg Lindberg offered the state’s top insurance regulator up to $2 million in campaign contributions to go easy on his companies. State Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes relinquished his party activities Wednesday, a day after he was also charged.
Lindberg has donated more than $7 million to state and federal politicians and political committees in the past three years.
That includes Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who is gearing up for a bid to challenge Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper next year.
Two political committees supporting Forest and other statewide Republican candidates have received more than $2.4 million from the Durham businessman since early 2017. Forest has taken credit for that fundraising.
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.
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.