Convicted billionaire campaign donor Greg Lindberg’s name is coming up a lot in the race for insurance commissioner. This year’s contest for the regulatory office is a rematch from 2016, with Republican incumbent Mike Causey facing the two-term Democrat he defeated four years ago: Wayne Goodwin, who’s now chairman of the N.C. Democratic Party.
Causey played an instrumental role in the bribery case, wearing a wire for federal investigators and recording conversations in which Lindberg, his associates and then-N.C. Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes offered to bribe Causey with big campaign contributions in exchange for taking action that Lindberg sought for his insurance companies, according to court documents. Lindberg was recently sentenced to seven years in prison.
Goodwin was never accused of any criminal acts in the investigation. But he benefited from campaign contributions from Lindberg in 2016 — including a $500,000 donation to a PAC supporting Goodwin’s re-election — and he went to work for Lindberg’s company as a consultant for several months in 2017.
Goodwin said in a recent interview that Lindberg got “no special favors” from his office, and on insurance regulatory issues related to Lindberg’s companies, “I relied on the input from subject matter experts.”
Causey’s campaign is emphasizing Goodwin’s ties to Lindberg. A video ad posted on YouTube calls Goodwin “a fancy dancy politician who has made a living off politics … Wayne Goodwin is bought and paid for by Greg Lindberg.”
In an interview, Causey said voters should be concerned by Goodwin’s decision to accept Lindberg’s support in 2016. “If you have one entity that’s saying ‘we want to bankroll you,’ it raises a lot of red flags,” Causey said.
He said that when he took office, Department of Insurance employees told him they had concerns about how regulatory matters were handled