© 2023 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Former NC GOP Chairman Robin Hayes Pleads Guilty To Lying To FBI

Robin Hayes
Steve Harrison
Robin Hayes drives away from a court date.

Robin Hayes, the former chair of the North Carolina Republican Party, pleaded guilty Wednesday to one charge of lying to the FBI as part of one of the state’s largest corruption scandals. 

Robin Hayes
Credit Robin Hayes / Twitter

Hayes, who was also a Congressman a decade ago, was allegedly part of a scheme with Durham businessman Greg Lindberg to illegally give campaign contributions to State Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey.

Hayes, who is 74, limped into Magistrate Judge David Cayer's courtroom. The judge asked if he wanted to make a statement before his guilty plea.

"No sir," Hayes said, showing no emotion throughout the hearing.

Lindberg wanted Causey to replace a senior deputy whom Lindberg said was unfairly regulating his firm, Global Bankers Insurance Group, according to the indictment against Hayes, Lindberg and two others.

To do this, Lindberg and Hayes allegedly worked to funnel $2 million – some of it through the state Republican Party -- to Causey’s campaign.

But while the men spoke secretly in 2018, Causey had already alerted the FBI – and was wearing a wire.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray said Hayes lied to the FBI in August 2018 when he told them he had never spoken with Causey about Lindberg or about issues with personnel at the Department of Insurance.

The maximum sentence for making false statements to the FBI is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The federal government recommended a lower sentence, which will likely be up to six months in prison.

Hayes has agreed to cooperate with the government. His plea requires him to "provide truthful testimony" and alert prosecutors about "any other criminal activity" that he's aware of.

In a court filing last month, Lindberg's lawyers say his actions did not constitute fraud or bribery, and that the case against him is "legally flawed,"  "deficient."

Hayes did not comment as he left the courthouse in a black SUV. But he did smile and wave to reporters.

Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.