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North Carolina GOP Chair And Others Indicted On Corruption Charges

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And now news of a U.S. political scandal that is rooted in North Carolina. Four people, including a former congressman, were indicted by federal prosecutors for their roles in attempting to bribe an elected official. From member station WUNC, Jeff Tiberii has more.

JEFF TIBERII, BYLINE: The latest political unrest here arrived in the form of alleged wire fraud, aiding and abetting and lying to the FBI. Greg Lindberg, a wealthy businessman and the largest political donor in the state the past two years, wanted influence over insurance regulations. According to an assistant attorney general, Lindberg and his associates orchestrated a brazen plan - offer millions of dollars in campaign contributions in exchange for more favorable insurance regulations. But Republican state insurance commissioner Mike Causey didn't take any bribe. When he thought something was up weeks after taking office, he contacted federal law enforcement and was soon assisting in their investigation.

MIKE CAUSEY: It is a sad day for North Carolina when you see the influence that money has in politics.

TIBERII: On Tuesday, indictments were unsealed for the businessman, two associates and Robin Hayes, a former five-term member of the U.S. House who, for the moment, still chairs the state Republican Party. Meredith College political science professor David McLennan.

DAVID MCLENNAN: I don't think any other way to say it except for devastating. The party is reeling, and it's hard to imagine how you pull the party back together.

TIBERII: Dull political moments in Raleigh are rare these days. Out of 435 U.S. House seats, there are only three vacancies. Two are from North Carolina. A longtime congressman died in February. A couple of weeks later, a special election was ordered in the state's 9th Congressional District, where there was alleged election fraud and a different FBI investigation. Now, these federal indictments. For NPR News, I'm Jeff Tiberii in Raleigh, N.C. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Jeff Tiberii first started posing questions to strangers after dinner at La Cantina Italiana, in Massachusetts, when he was two-years-old. Jeff grew up in Wayland, Ma., an avid fan of the Boston Celtics, and took summer vacations to Acadia National Park (ME) with his family. He graduated from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism, and moved to North Carolina in 2006. His experience with NPR member stations WAER (Syracuse), WFDD (Winston-Salem) and now WUNC, dates back 15 years.