The Wall Street Journal dropped quite a stink bomb on #ncpol today:
[…] A federal criminal investigation, made public in October after subpoenas were issued, is looking into Mr. Lindberg’s political donations and his relationship with North Carolina regulators, according to people familiar with the matter. North Carolina is one of 11 states in which insurance commissioners are elected. The probe also is exploring potential financial misdeeds related to the insurers, according to people familiar with the matter.
The federal investigation includes secret recordings made by North Carolina’s current insurance commissioner, who took office in January 2017 and began cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the first half of 2018, according to people with knowledge of parts of the probe. […]
Hmmm. Mike Causey has been running tape.
What’s this about? Why, it’s the Eli Global thing. The NCGOP got millions from these people. So did the Chatham County GOP. So did a PAC affiliated with Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. So did the NC Democrat Party. So did NCDP chairman Wayne Goodwin. Dirty money all around, eh?
[…] Soon after Greg Lindberg moved into the insurance business, the North Carolina entrepreneur went on a spending spree.
He bought nearly 100 companies around the globe, an estate in the Florida Keys, an Idaho lakeside retreat, a Gulfstream jet and the most expensive mansion ever sold in Raleigh, N.C.In September 2018 he added a 214-foot yacht with room for a dozen overnight guests. He also became the largest political donor in North Carolina and lavished money on other races around the country.
The Yale-educated executive lent at least $2 billion from those insurers to scores of entities he controlled, using much of it to expand his private holdings, according to interviews, regulatory filings and more than 4,500 internal documents from Mr. Lindberg’s companies reviewed by the Journal.
The sheer scale of Mr. Lindberg’s use of insurance assets to invest in his own businesses has little precedent in recent decades, industry experts say, and exposes hundreds of thousands of policyholders to an unusual and potentially risky strategy.
The insurers disguised the money flow by contending in public regulatory filings that many of the entities they invested in, with names such as Secured Loan-Backed Funding IV LLC, weren’t affiliated with his empire. In reality, documents show, that entity and more than 100 similar ones were set up by Mr. Lindberg to direct money to his own ventures, the Journal found.
Mr. Lindberg is among a wave of financiers who have snapped up life-insurance companies in recent years, contending they can do better than traditional owners in investing the vast assets on insurers’ books in a low interest-rate environment. Some in this new class of owners have deployed unusual financial structures and complex investments, challenging state regulators who have struggled to stay on top of the changing environment.
In Mr. Lindberg’s case, his empire-building has drawn scrutiny from both federal and state authorities.
A federal criminal investigation, made public in October after subpoenas were issued, is looking into Mr. Lindberg’s political donations and his relationship with North Carolina regulators, according to people familiar with the matter. North Carolina is one of 11 states in which insurance commissioners are elected. The probe also is exploring potential financial misdeeds related to the insurers, according to people familiar with the matter.[…]
[…] Mr. Lindberg ramped up political donations in late 2017, giving to insurance commissioners in other states and $670,000 to national Republican organizations. In North Carolina, he donated $5.4 million in 2017 and 2018, mostly to Republicans.
After contributing $500,000 to the North Carolina GOP in May 2018, Mr. Lindberg suggested the party donate a portion to Mr. Causey’s campaign, said Dallas Woodhouse, the party’s executive director. Records show the party donated $250,000 to Mr. Causey in June and July. By this time, Mr. Causey was cooperating with the FBI on its secret probe, according to people familiar with the matter. Republican party officials weren’t aware of the investigation.
The party maintains it acted lawfully, because officials didn’t accept the $500,000 with the intent of helping Mr. Lindberg evade the state’s then-$5,200 individual-contribution limit.
Instead, “based on our discretion,” the party decided weeks after receiving the money that it made sense to both accommodate a big donor and help Mr. Causey, Mr. Woodhouse said. No authorities have told the party that its conduct “is under question in this matter,” he said.
In an interview, Mr. Causey said he turned over the $250,000 donation to federal officials, at their instruction. “It’s part of their investigation,” he said.
“The department of insurance is not a target,” he said, “and none of the employees including myself are targets.” He declined to discuss his role in the federal probe.[…]