People give to political campaigns for different reasons. Some know the candidates personally. Some share ideological beliefs. Some believe they’re better than the opponents. Some do so just because they are asked. Some want access. And some expect something in return. Greg Lindberg clearly falls in the latter two categories.
Lindberg is the businessman who was indicted for bribery along with NC Republican Party Chair Robin Hayes. He’s quickly become one of the state’s biggest political donors, giving more than $6 million in the last few years. Much of his money went to SuperPACs designed to evade campaign finance laws.
Lindberg gave the vast majority of his money to Republicans but he spread his love around, giving Democrats more than $1 million since 2016. The Democratic donations seem to be tied to Lindberg’s relationship with former Insurance Commissioner and current Democratic Party Chair Wayne Goodwin since most of the money went to either a SuperPAC supporting Goodwin or the state party. He also gave more than $33,000 to Senate Democrats.
But those donations paled in comparison to the money he spread around to Republican candidates and committees. He gave almost $2.5 million PACs associate with Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest, who is now running for Governor. He gave another $2 million to the state Republican Party and he gave $500,000 to a PAC run by his associate, former Chatham County Republican Chair John Palermo. He gave almost $300,000 to the Republican House Caucus run by Speaker Tim Moore. More money went directly to candidates or committees from people who worked for Lindberg’s companies.
Clearly, he expected that money to yield results. He gave to Goodwin because of his position in the insurance world. He gave to Republicans because they are in power. The common refrain from people who took his money was that the donations were “legal” and that nobody was asked for anything in return. The problem is that Lindberg clearly expected something in return, whether it was stated or not.
Everybody should give his money back or donate it to a worthy cause. Lindberg’s money is tainted. The whole episode illustrates why people have lost trust in our political system and standing behind “It’s legal” explains why they believe the system is rigged.
Give it up and look for ways to prevent what has just happened from happening again. Otherwise, be prepared to continue to suffer the wrath of a population that believes everybody is just in it for the money.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >