The story of Republican politics in North Carolina in the past two decades is the story of corruption, gerrymandering, and the subversion of democracy to such an extent that an independent body compared the state to Cuba and Iran. The individual anecdotes are too numerous to recount, but perhaps the most offensive was an effort to analyze the methods used by African-Americans to vote, and then use that data specifically to disenfranchise them. From WaPo in 2016:
In particular, the court found that North Carolina lawmakers requested data on racial differences in voting behaviors in the state. “This data showed that African Americans disproportionately lacked the most common kind of photo ID, those issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV),” the judges wrote.
So the legislators made it so that the only acceptable forms of voter identification were the ones disproportionately used by white people. “With race data in hand, the legislature amended the bill to exclude many of the alternative photo IDs used by African Americans,” the judges wrote. “The bill retained only the kinds of IDs that white North Carolinians were more likely to possess.”
This year, in a House race in the Ninth Congressional district, a Republican candidate’s campaign tampered with ballots after collecting them from voters under false pretenses, and the big penalty when they were found guilty…was that a new election was called. (The GOP candidate, Mark Harris, has since announced that he won’t run again, but he was fully allowed to try again under the rules.)
Now, in a development that should shock no one, but simply adds fuel to the ongoing fire of corruption, the chairman of the state Republican party, Robin Hayes, has been indicted along with several others for “honest services wire fraud” in connection with donations made to the party and an attempt to bribe the state insurance commissioner.
The crux of the matter stems from donations from a wealthy citizen that were then forwarded on to Causey, the Republican commissioner:
Lindberg made sizeable contributions to both political parties, campaign finance records show, including a six-figure contribution to the North Carolina Democratic Party and nearly $2 million to the North Carolina Republican Party.
A portion of Lindberg’s contribution to the NCGOP—$240,000 -was then forwarded to North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey, who is also a Republican.
“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,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski in a Department of Justice release. “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 and his Republican allies were also seeking the outright removal of the Department of Insurance’s Senior Deputy Commissioner, who was apparently not friendly to their cause.
This is another glaring black eye for one of our country’s most blatantly corrupt political organizations, and though state Republicans will undoubtedly try to blame a few bad actors, it’s a latest clear indication of the systemic rot that pervades the entire state party.