Commentary, News

Campaign watchdog: Here are the details of Greg Lindberg’s political spending spree on Dan Forest and others

Veteran North Carolina campaign watchdog Bob Hall has prepared an analysis of the campaign contributions made by recently indicted businessman Greg Lindberg and his associates. In the email accompanying his memo, Hall calls on all groups and individuals who have received Lindberg cash to “send amounts equal to Lindberg’s donations to the State Board of Elections for deposit in the public school forfeiture fund.”

Below is the memo explaining his findings. You can access the Excel file he references by clicking here.

Attached is an Excel file with contributions from Greg Lindberg and his associates to North Carolina candidates and party committees, complied from the NC State Board of Elections’ database for 2016 through 2018. The donations total $5.5 million from Lindberg, plus another $580,000 in 2016-2018 contributions from his family, firms and business associates, nearly all of it connected to his fundraising.

That means Greg Lindberg is North Carolina’s “Six Million Dollar Man” (nod to the old TV show). He is the state’s largest political donor who did not bankroll his own campaign (as John Edwards did with his $6 million in his successful 1998 campaign against Senator Lauch Faircloth).

Greg Lindberg’s began donating in North Carolina by hosting a fundraiser for then-Insurance Commission Wayne Goodwin in February 2016. Dozens of Lindberg’s business associates and executives with Eli Global gave more than $67,000 to Goodwin’s reelection campaign that month. In the fall, Lindberg and his associates donated another $57,900 to Goodwin, for total of a $125,000 in 2016. Lindberg also steered $425,000 into an independent committee he set up (NC Opportunity Committee) to support Goodwin, but Goodwin lost his reelection to Republican Mike Causey.

Ironically, Lindberg did not register to vote in North Carolina until November 2016. He did not vote in 2018 nor in the previous dozen years, except for the 2016 presidential election. He is registered as an Unaffiliated voter. His wife Tisha is registered as a Democrat; she voted in 2004 and several other general elections but also skipped the 2018 primary and general election.

The $5.5 million given directly by Greg Lindberg includes two eye-popping donations in November 2017 of $1 million each, one to a Super PAC called Truth & Prosperity and another to the NC Republican Council of State Committee. Both political committees are affiliated with Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. The donations came a few weeks after Dan Forest was the “special guest” at the ribbon cutting of the new Durham headquarters for Lindberg’s Global Bankers Insurance Group; the September 18, 2017, ceremony featured Forest, Lindberg and several GBIG executives. In the weeks leading up to the ceremony, in August/September 2017, about three dozen business associates and donors connected to Lindberg contributed more than $60,000 to the Committee to Elect Dan Forest for the 2020 election.

In May 2018, Lindberg donated $500,000 to the NC Republican Party. Interestingly, the Republican Party then contributed a total of $250,000 in three donations to Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey’s campaign in mid-June and July 2018 – two years before the 2020 election.

Altogether in 2017 and 2018, Lindberg donated $1.2 million to the NC Republican Party’s general account, plus $290,000 to the NC Republican Party’s House Caucus account. In 2018, he donated $500,000 to the NC Democratic Party’s general account, while Eli Global gave $250,000 to the NC Democratic Party’s Building Fund. Former Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin was (and still is) chair of the state Democratic Party and has been given credit for soliciting the donations.

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