North Carolina’s Republican Party is finding its footing after the indictment of GOP chairman Robin Hayes, Trinity '67, and political donor Greg Lindberg for charges including conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, bribery and aiding and abetting.
According to the indictment, which was unsealed Tuesday, Hayes, Lindberg and two of Lindberg’s associates, John Gray and John Palermo Jr., were accused of attempting to bribe and influence Republican Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey.
All four have pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to the News and Observer.
Hayes announced on Monday that he will not be seeking re-election and that the state GOP’s convention in June will be the last time he leads the party. Hayes has surrendered himself to authorities and made his first court appearance in Charlotte on Monday.
According to the News and Observer, Hayes' attorney said that he denies the allegations.
“After a long and distinguished career in public service at the local, state, and federal levels, Robin volunteered his time helping to support the party and candidates for office in North Carolina," attorney Kearns Davis said, the News and Observer reported. "We look forward to a swift conclusion to this matter, and to clearing his name."
Lindberg's attorney also told McClatchy that the donor denies the charges he faces.
In response to the indictment, the N.C. Republican Party may remove executive director Dallas Woodhouse. Woodhouse stated that he was merely a witness in the investigation and denies ever speaking with Lindberg.
“I work at the pleasure of the central committee and that is the status. That status can change by my determination or theirs,” Woodhouse said on Friday. “I will not resign. I have nothing to resign for.”
Lindberg has been under federal investigation for his numerous financial contributions to North Carolina politicians. According to data from the Center of Responsive Politics, Lindberg has given more than $1.6 million to federal candidates and committees. In 2017, he was the N.C. Republican Party’s single biggest donor, and he also made donations to the N.C. Democratic Party.
The indictment comes quickly after election fraud was reported in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, when the state board of elections determined “a coordinated, unlawful, and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme” in two 9th district counties tied to Republican candidate Mark Harris.
“What you saw in North Carolina Nine is very different than what we’ve seen reported this week. Having said that, we have to have some quick action on leadership and getting our message out as a state party,” said Sen. Thom Tillis, former N.C. House speaker, according to The News and Observer.
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The Republican National Convention, two House special elections and many statewide races in the next foreseeable two years are coming up for the N.C. Republican Party.
“We’re going to be the host of the 2020 convention, and you’re always trying to find ways to improve your brand and take away from any distractions,” Tillis said.