North Carolina GOP Chair: Time To Do Some Bribin'!
Robin Hayes, the chair of the North Carolina Republican Party, is one of four people indicted by a federal grand jury in an (alleged!) conspiracy scheme to bribe the state insurance commissioner to get favorable treatment for insurance companies owned by a major Republican donor. Too bad for the grifty sumbitches, though: The state insurance commissioner, Mike Causey, went straight to the Feds with the scheme, then cooperated with federal agents to nab the conspirators. Oh, that smarts.
Here's the gist of the deal, as laid out in a 23-page indictment unsealed Tuesday in the Western District of North Carolina. The (allegedly) crooked insurance and investment-firm guy, Greg Lindberg, and two business associates, John Gray and John Palermo Jr., teamed up with Hayes to bribe Causey, with the hope of getting rid of a senior deputy commissioner in the state department of Insurance, which would shift regulatory review of Lindberg's companies to someone more favorable. In return, Lindberg offered to set up an independent expenditure committee to support Causey in his 2018 reelection bid, to the tune of a million and a half dollars, as well as funneling another $500,000 through the state GOP (which the indictment amusingly calls "North Carolina State Political Party A" throughout), which Hayes would then make sure was earmarked for Causey's campaign, too -- in violation of federal law prohibiting such earmarking of general campaign donations.
It's all very very sleazy, and the indictment is a fun read just because these dweebs are all so casually corrupt about the whole scheme. Makes us wonder what else counts as business as usual in the NC GOP. Mind you, the state GOP insists it too has cooperated fully with the FBI "for months," you betcha, and carefully notes that Lindberg sometimes gave money to Democrats, too.
How sleazy and openly, incompetently corrupt was the scheme? Lindberg suggested that Causey replace the troublesome honest deputy commissioner with John Palermo, who worked for Lindberg's investment outfit. Just appoint him as deputy commissioner, he knows what to do! Causey -- the FBI witness, remember -- had to talk 'em down from that scheme, pointing out the papers would surely notice the connection to Lindberg.
Hayes at one point outlined the bribery scheme over the phone, cheerfully telling Causey that Lindberg and Gray
had pledged, to, you know, they had a half million dollars the other day when I was meeting with them and they said that, you know, 'this is what we're going to give to the Party so . . . that they can give a check to you.
He also helpfully assured Causey the two were men of their word who "always do what they say they're going to do," then reminded the commissioner that there was definitely a quo expected for all that quid.
During the call, HAYES then raised the personnel change requested by LINDBERG, stating, "Well, the thing that I heard that I think is important is, and I don't know enough about it to really spoke intelligently, but there were some personnel issues, that they were hoping that you would, and I don't even know the lady that was apparently really, really good, in financial analysis, that they would like to see put back into that Department to make sure that things got done that needed to get done."
Really helpful of him to lay it all out so neatly like that for the federal prosecutors. None of that lame Bob McDonnell got a lot of nice things for "access" but who can say what is "bribe"? stuff. In addition to the charges he shares with the other three turdnuggets, there's also an intriguing mention of an unidentified "Public Official A" who was somehow involved with the scheme, although that elected official isn't identified and there's no mention of their being charged, either. Here, enjoy some indictment porn as Lindberg and his confederates maneuver Official A into helping with the scheme:
27. GRAY later called Public Official A and, on or about February 5, 2018, sent a text message to LINDBERG stating, "I have discussed our NCDOI matter with [Public Official A]. Please call before your trip to Greensboro today so we can discuss details. Excellent opportunity available for support here." On the same date, LINDBERG made a $150,000 contribution to a political committee supporting Public Official A.
That mystery official later called Causey to tell him that Lindberg was "doing good things for North Carolina business," according to the indictment.
The AP notes that the only donation of $150,000 made by Lindberg in 2018 went to US Congressman Mark Walker, representing North Carolina's Sixth District. according to disclosures on the Federal Election Commission website. A spokesperson for Walker, Jack Minor, wouldn't say whether Walker was "Public Official A," but said Lindberg's contribution to the "Mark Walker Victory Committee" was ultimately sent on to the Republican National Committee without being used in the Walker campaign.
"Walker is not and never has been a target of this investigation, and has committed no wrongdoing," Minor said in a statement, adding that Walker has assisted federal investigators.
Well, nuts. So much for our pet theory that "Public Official A" was Donald Trump. Or maybe "Q."
In any case, the whole fucking fuckpile of fuckery makes for a fascinating (fucking) read. And the thing that really blows Yr Wonkette's mind is that not a single bit of this North Carolina GOP fraud scandal appears to be in any way related to 2018's OTHER massive North Carolina GOP fraud scandal, in which the election for Congressional District Nine has to be completely redone because the Republican candidate hired a great big frauder to do absentee vote fraud on his behalf. Mind you, that candidate, Mark Harris, insists he knew NOTHING about the fraudy high jinks his chosen campaign operative was up to. Harris, you'll recall, dropped out of the electoral do-over because of his fragile health and his taint of corruption.
Oh hey, so maybe there is just a little connection between Harris and poor Mr. Hayes:
Hayes had announced Monday that he wouldn't seek another term as NC GOP chairman, a decision he attributed to health concerns.
Golly, these completely innocent North Carolina Republicans aren't just inexplicably surrounded by crooks. They're also in terribly precarious health. We will pray for them.
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