In one of his last acts of public office, now former President Trump issued a series of pardons, and one of the beneficiaries is disgraced former North Carolina GOP Chairman Robin Hayes.
The pardons include many political figures, most but not all of them Republicans.
Hayes is one of those GOP pardons. He was once a towering presence in North Carolina politics before a guilty plea in a federal bribery case led to a stunning downfall.
Hayes, now 75, served 10 years in Congress and afterward spent two stints leading the state Republican party.
And then — scandal. While serving as party chairman, Hayes participated in a scheme in which a wealthy businessman, Greg Lindberg, tried to bribe the state insurance commissioner in the hopes of removing one of the agency's top regulators.
Hayes was charged after lying to FBI investigators. Under a plea deal, he received a year of probation and financial penalties.
The White House pardon statement said Republican Sen. Thom Tillis and several other members of the North Carolina congressional delegation strongly supported clemency for Hayes.
Lindberg is currently serving a prison sentence of more than seven years.