Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), a member of House GOP leadership, appears to be the unnamed “Public Official A” in a bombshell public corruption probe unsealed on Tuesday.
A federal grand jury indicted four men, including North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes, in a bribery scheme in which businessman Greg Lindberg sought to pressure on the state’s insurance commissioner to fire a deputy in exchange for major campaign contributions that were laundered through the state party and other entities.
Included in that indictment: A conversation between Lindberg and an associate about another unnamed lawmaker pressuring North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey (R) to fire his deputy.
“Just between the 3 of us … [Public Official A] has already made two calls on our behalf and is trying to help us move the ball forward,” a Lindberg deputy emailed him, according to the indictment. “I was also told that the $150,000 will be going to [Public Official A].”
Lindberg donated $150,000 to Walker’s victory committee that February, according to Federal Election Commission records, his only federal donation that month except one to the Republican National Committee. He’d donated almost $80,000 previously to other Walker-affiliated committees.
Walker told Politico, which first reported the connection, “We’re not even part of this investigation.”
A Walker spokesman told TPM that his boss hadn’t been charged or indicted and was fully cooperating with the probe, while claiming the money was for a joint fundraising committee that was passed onto the RNC, not for Walker directly.
“The February contribution went to the Republican National Committee and did not benefit Walker’s campaign,” spokesman Jack Minor told TPM in an email. “Walker is not and never has been a target of this investigation, and has committed no wrongdoing. He has assisted the DOJ [Department of Justice].”
This story was updated at 4:15 p.m. to include Minor’s statement.