On Tuesday, Kentucky’s new Republican Governor, Matt Bevin, announced that his administration would be launching a corruption investigation into the actions of the previous administration. Governor Bevin has asked the Secretary of Finance and Administration, Col. Bill Landrum, to hire an attorney or law firm with experience in investigating activities and contracts to look into allegations of corruption during Democrat Governor Steve Beshear’s administration.
Here is some of what Governor Bevin said on Tuesday:
In the first four months of my administration, my staff has uncovered evidence that officials in the prior administration failed to meet the high standards that the law and people of Kentucky demand from state government officials. We are here today to air out some — and I stress some — of the questionable activities that our administration has discovered since taking office 4 months ago. Even more recently we have learned through a U.S. Department of Justice press conference and media reports that the pay-to-play method of conducting government was alive and well at the very highest levels of the past administration. This method of government must stop and will not be tolerated in our administration. In fact, it stopped the day I took office. These discoveries raise questions that must be answered in an open and transparent way. Only then, will the citizens of this Commonwealth begin to have confidence in their government. There must be a shift in culture and the way business is done in Frankfort, if we are to move on from the greedy — even corrupt — practices of the past. Let’s be clear: corruption and pay-toplay, or pay-to-stay, will not be tolerated in this administration.
Bevin then laid out the various irregularities and worrisome evidence that his administration had begun to uncover that seemed to show a pattern of corruption, as the previous administration had apparently been coercing state employees to donate to the Democrat Party!
In light of these areas of serious concern, and still others that are not able to be discussed publicly at this time, I am asking the Secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet, Col. Bill Landrum, using the extensive investigative powers given to him in KRS Chapter 45, to prepare and issue an RFP for a thorough, in-depth investigation and report by an attorney or law firm with experience in investigating activities and contracts like I have outlined.
Once selected, this firm will work closely with Secretary Landrum and his staff, including the Cabinet’s new Inspector General, whose appointment will be announced in the coming days, to make findings and issue a report.
Under KRS Chapter 45, such investigation will include the ability to subpoena witnesses and records as may be necessary to accomplish the investigative goals.
A thorough, independent investigation like this can expose and cast light upon prior unsavory — and perhaps illegal — practices, but can also provide the public a degree of confidence in a fair and transparent governance that was so glaringly absent in the past administration.
I understand that the FBI might be looking into matters related to these issues, but the
FBI is investigating potential violations of federal law. The people of Kentucky also deserve to know whether any Kentucky laws were violated.
When I campaigned for Governor I committed to running the kind of open, transparent
and honest government that has not always existed in Frankfort.
I have the highest confidence in the caliber and integrity of Sec. Landrum. He will clean
up the mess and get Frankfort’s finances and administrative operations running in a way that will restore confidence in government business. Any sign of corruption will be exposed and eliminated.
One of the discoveries that Bevin’s administration has made had to do with questionable ties between current Attorney General Andy Beshear (the son of the previous Governor) and a key figure from Governor Steve Beshear’s administration, Timothy Longmeyer.
Longmeyer, who was on Beshear’s staff was charged with bribery. He resigned immediately after being charged.
In his statement, Bevin said he had tracked “ill-gotten gains” from Longmeyer that had been contributed to Beshear’s 2015 campaign. This coming from a group called “The Capitol Club,” which Longmeyer helped found. According to the investigation, that group appears to have raised money from state employees while he was a member of Governor Beshear’s administration.
Longmeyer was Deputy Personnel Secretary under Governor Beshear and was appointed Deputy Attorney General under Attorney General Andy Beshear where he remained until he resigned.
Bevin has demanded that Andy Besher return the contributions.
All of this is complicated by the fact that just last week AG Beshear sued Governor Bevin for making budget cuts without first getting approval from Kentucky’s legislature. Former Governor Beshear is of course calling the investigation politically motivated, “At some point, Matt Bevin has to realize there is a time to campaign and a time to govern. Attacking me in an effort to distract the public from his Benefind debacle and his plan to strip away healthcare from hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians will not work. Today’s accusations, which have absolutely no basis in truth, continue this pathetic spectacle. There was never any attempt to pressure employees to make political contributions, and we followed both the spirit and the letter of procurement laws. Furthermore, I made my tax returns public all eight years I was governor, something Gov. Bevin refuses to do even after promising to do so. Kentuckians deserve better.”
However, the problem for the Beshear family and their political allies is that the FBI seemed to already be investigating these allegations of corruption and the Governor’s administration has already uncovered a seeming wealth of new evidence. While Beshear may be posturing now, it sure looks like this story is going to grow even more sordid as time passes.