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Causey: Ex-commissioner gave firm special treatment

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By George Fisher

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Well, there’s a whole lot going on here. In case you haven’t been keeping up, let me give you the rundown.

Robin Hayes was the chair of the North Carolina Republican Party. Mike Causey is the newly elected Republican Commissioner of insurance in North Carolina.

Hayes took money from a guy named Greg Lindberg who runs Global Bankers Insurance. In a nutshell, Lindberg would put money into political action committees at the request of Hayes who would then distribute that money either to political candidates or to organizations that would provide consultants and/or media buys in North Carolina for Republican candidates.

The way it all came about was because Lindberg had the same arrangement with former Commissioner of Insurance, Wayne Goodwin. Lindberg just assumed that the same pay for play scenarios would apply regardless of the party affiliation.

Normally, he would’ve been right. Play for pay politics has been going on since long before the Jim Long administration. What makes it a little more complicated is that the Republicans took over the North Carolina Council of State.

Not to get too complicated, but that is where the real power in North Carolina politics lies. Yes, it does matter the party affiliation of the governor and that of the state Senate and House; the real power plays in Raleigh happen within the Council of State.

The Insurance Commissioner in North Carolina is part of that Council of State.

The Council of State enjoys the control of administrative law within the North Carolina government apparatus.

Through various PACs, fundraisers, paid consultants, etc. Lindberg was able to work his magic to the benefit of GBI as well as other entities under his control.

So, while it is true that GBI was treated differently, so were many others that were playing the same game under both Republican and Democratic control.

As George Carlin once said, “It’s the big club and we're not in it.”

In essence, millions of dollars have floated from big money donors like GBI into political coffers while politicians presumably turned their head at where the money was coming from.

When Wayne Goodwin lost his election as Insurance Commissioner, he was elected chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party. For a very short time Goodwin was also employed by GBI, however briefly, in an effort to shore up his income.

Interestingly, the former chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party, Randy Voller, has been instrumental in bringing to light the shenanigans of Lindberg, as well as others, and at least a plausible attempt to weed out corruption within the party-political apparatus.

George Fisher is a writer, author and former congressional campaign manager in North Carolina.

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