Brunswick Beacon, 12.29.22
Mark Meadows represented NC’s 11th District from 2013-2021, then became Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff. Meadows produced thousands of text messages to the Jan. 6 Committee. One raises questions about the conduct of Senator-elect Ted Budd, currently representing NC’s 13th District.
On Dec. 22, 2020, Budd announced he would object to the Electoral College Count on Jan. 6, 2021. On Dec. 23, Budd texted Meadows: “Anything I need to do to help get Robin H on the pardon list? I’m on the Jan 6 objector list in case there’s anything to sync up on.”
After the Capitol was cleared of rioters on Jan. 6, Budd and 146 other Republicans voted to overthrow the 2020 election results. On Jan. 20, in his last moments as president, Trump pardoned Robin Hayes, who represented NC’s 8th district in Congress from 1999-2008.
When he left office, Hayes was Congress’ fourth richest member, worth $127 million. He then served as Chair of the NC Republican Party from 2011-2013 and again from 2016-2019, when he was indicted for bribery, conspiracy to commit fraud and making false statements in connection with what the Charlotte Observer called NC’s “worst political corruption scandal.” Hayes pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, saying “ I apologize for what I’ve done. I’ll live with this for as long as I live.”
Did Budd request a pardon for Hayes? Did he object to the Electoral College Count to help obtain it? That would be “problematic,” said Brian Kalt, law professor at Michigan State University. “It sounds like he is sort of hinting at a quid pro quo.”
Budd’s request “could technically fit the definition of bribery, which is the exchange of official action for something of value,” said Albert Alschuler, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago Law School.
Budd owes his constituents an explanation. NC deserves answers.