John Trump reports for Carolina Journal:

A federal grand jury indicted N.C. Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes, political donor Greg Lindberg of Durham, and two Lindberg associates on charges of wire fraud, bribery, and making false statements to law enforcement agents. The four allegedly orchestrated a scheme in which they would give Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey, a Republican elected in 2016, campaign contributions. In return, Causey would allow lax enforcement of regulations that would help Lindberg’s insurance companies. The indictment, handed down in March, was unsealed Tuesday.

The four men pleaded not guilty at the federal courthouse in Charlotte. Each was released on a $100,000 bond, ordered to surrender their passports, and report any travel to probation officials, The News & Observer reported.

Hayes announced Monday he was retiring as chairman of the state GOP at the end of his term.

According to the indictment, Lindberg offered to give $2 million to support Causey’s re-election campaign, using an independent expenditure organization and the state Republican Party as conduits. Hayes allegedly joined the scheme and lied to FBI agents when asked about it. Causey cooperated with the investigation from the outset, turning over to the federal government a $250,000 contribution Lindberg made and helping the FBI by recording phone calls and conversations.

Tuesday afternoon, N.C. Republican Party counsel Josh Howard issued a statement:

“Early this morning, the North Carolina Republican Party was made aware of several indictments surrounding the conduct of a major donor to both major political parties and two of his associates. The party has been cooperating with the investigation for several months, including staff members providing statements and responding to various document requests. The party, which has its day to day operations managed by professional staff under the direction of the NCGOP Central Committee, remains fully operational and focused on its mission at hand.”

Read more here.