RALEIGH – New filings show that the North Carolina Growth and Prosperity Committee relinquished nearly half a million dollars to federal authorities the day before the announcement of a criminal case against insurance magnate Greg Lindberg, former NCGOP Chairman Robin Hayes, and the committee’s treasurer.
The case centered around Lindberg trying to bribe North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey, and using the the NCGOP to do it.
From the Associated Press:
“[…] The indictments say the committee created with $1.5 million of Lindberg’s money was to funnel money to Causey, who reported the alleged bribery attempt. Causey’s campaign also was supposed to get another $500,000 channeled through the state GOP, the indictments said.
Lindberg had contributed more than $7 million since 2016 to state and federal candidates and committees, significantly favoring Republican causes. The state’s top political donor gave the North Carolina Republican Party almost $1.5 million in 2017 and 2018, and $500,000 to the state’s Democrats, according to state campaign finance records. […]”
Causey cannot be praised enough for doing the right thing and reporting the attempted bribe. His tip led to him donning a wire for the FBI that caught a conversation leading to the indictment of Hayes for allegedly facilitating the bribe.
While it certainly threw the NCGOP into a tailspin, with no real leadership and a ton of bad press, doing the right thing is never the wrong thing to do. Our public servants should be expected to act ethically, but unfortunately far too many are willing to suspend their conscience in favor of financial support.
Whenever this story comes up, the fact that Lindberg was trying to bribe a newly elected insurance commissioner, it makes one wonder what kind of relationship the indicted businessman had with the former insurance commissioner, a Democrat that now serves as the Chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party.
Wayne Goodwin’s 2016 campaign for reelection as commissioner, which he lost to Republican Mike Causey, received about $10,000 from Lindberg. More than that, though, Lindberg financed a PAC to the tune of $450,000 that produced pro-Goodwin commercials. Goodwin was insurance commissioner for eight years before losing to Causey.
If Lindberg’s attempts to shower Causey with money constitute bribes, that Causey honorably refused, then what does that mean for his financial support of Goodwin, who gladly accepted them? Especially when it was found that the agency under Goodwin’s leadership made special regulatory allowances for Lindberg that benefited him and his companies.
When asked about this, Goodwin hid behind staff, saying he relied on their expert advice to make the crony-like changes to help Lindberg out.
You smell that? Something stinks.