David Lewis, one of the most powerful Republicans in the
state legislature was charged this year with federal financial crimes,
in a scheme to take money from his political donors for personal
Federal court documents show Lewis was charged with not filing taxes and making false statements to a bank, in relation to his campaign finance scheme. As the leader of the Rules Committee, Lewis was a trusted advisor to Speaker Tim Moore and architect of modern Republican gerrymandering and voter suppression in North Carolina.
WBTV in Charlotte first reported that Lewis, a farmer from Dunn, was facing federal criminal charges. Prosecutors announced shortly after the charges were made public that Lewis would take a plea deal. One of the two charges he faced could have led to a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. But prosecutors will recommend a much lighter sentence ranging from probation to six months in prison, the plea deal says.
The court document laying out the charges says Lewis came up with a scheme to secretly siphon donors’ money out of his campaign account and put it to personal use. He reported that his campaign was sending money to the North Carolina Republican Party but in reality, the court document says, he was writing checks to a bank account he controlled. He put the account in the name of a company — which federal prosecutors say never existed — that he called “NC GOP, Inc.” to disguise what was going on.
The charges outline $65,000 that he allegedly took for personal use in August 2018. The court document says he later paid the Republican Party the same amount of money from his personal bank account.
After he and his fellow GOP officials took control of the legislature in 2011 Lewis rose through the ranks, ultimately becoming chairman of the Rules Committee. That role gave him power over what bills would or would not make it to the floor of the House of Representatives to be voted on.
More on David Lewis:
David Lewis said during a 2016 legislative hearing, he proposed the state “draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats (in the U.S. House of Representatives) because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats.”
In 2019, WRAL reported that John Gray, one of the businessmen at the center of a separate campaign finance scandal, related to attempted bribery at the top levels of the N.C. Republican Party, once loaned Lewis $500,000 that he then didn’t collect on after it came due.