The chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party and a major donor were indicted Tuesday on federal bribery and wire fraud charges.
North Carolina GOP Chairman Robin Hayes and Greg Lindberg, the founder and chairman of Eli Global LLC and the owner of Global Bankers Insurance Group, were among four people charged in federal indictments unsealed Tuesday.
Hayes, who served from 1999 to 2009 in Congress, Lindberg and his two associates, also charged, appeared in federal court in Charlotte, North Carolina on Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge David C. Keesler.
Hayes, Lindberg and his two associates are accused of trying to sway an insurance regulator’s decisions in favor of the donor’s insurance companies. Federal prosecutors said that the four individuals promised or gave Republican Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey millions of campaign dollars to do things Lindberg wanted, including seeking the removal of a deputy insurance commissioner responsible for oversight of one of Lindberg’s businesses.
Hayes also was charged with three counts of making false statements to the FBI.
FBI agents interviewed Hayes in August 2018 about his involvement with and knowledge of the alleged misconduct and alleged improper campaign contributions. During that interview, Hayes allegedly lied to FBI agents about directing funds at Lindberg’s request, among other things.
“Greg Lindberg is innocent of the charges in the indictment and we look forward to demonstrating this when we get our day in court,” his attorney, Anne Tompkins, told Fox News.
A spokesman for the North Carolina GOP did not immediately comment regarding Hayes' indictment.
“The indictment unsealed today outlines a brazen bribery scheme in which Greg Lindberg and his coconspirators allegedly offered hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions in exchange for official action that would benefit Lindberg’s business interests,” Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski said in a statement. “Bribery of public officials at any level of government undermines confidence in our political system. The Criminal Division will use all the tools at our disposal—including the assistance of law-abiding public officials—to relentlessly investigate and prosecute corruption wherever we find it.”
Lindberg has given more than $5 million to North Carolina candidates, party committees and independent expenditure groups.
The indictment amounted to the latest political scandal to rock the state. Earlier this year, an operative allegedly at the center of a ballot fraud scandal was indicted for illegal possession of absentee ballots and obstruction of justice.
This was after the North Carolina State Board of Election decided to call a new election in the 9th congressional district because of questions surrounding the legitimacy of the victory claimed by Republican Mark Harris, who had hired the later-indicted operative.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.