Beshear manager questions payment to ex-Longmeyer, Abramson aide tapped by Longmeyer for voter outreach work

05/05/2016 03:43 PM

UPDATED TO INCLUDE PERSONNEL CABINET EMPLOYMENT LOUISVILLE – Attorney General Andy Beshear’s campaign paid a former aide to Tim Longmeyer $15,000 for Jefferson County voter outreach efforts at Longmeyer’s behest, and Beshear’s campaign manager joins the first-year attorney general in questioning work billed to the campaign.

Jared Smith, Beshear’s campaign manager in his 2015 run for attorney general, also told Pure Politics on Thursday that Longmeyer, a former deputy attorney general and Personnel Cabinet secretary, attempted to have a second voter outreach effort in Fayette County approved by the campaign, but that request was denied.

“You always hear about it happening to other people and you never think it could happen to your campaign or to your candidate or to yourself, and to have somebody like Tim that did that just, you know, the shock is starting to wear off and the anger’s starting to set in,” Smith said in a phone interview Thursday.

“Tim was a trusted ally and friend, and he stabbed everybody in the back.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, in an affidavit reported Tuesday by the Lexington Herald-Leader, alleged that Longmeyer and Lexington-based MC Squared Consulting conspired to continue their kickback scheme through work on voter outreach for Beshear’s campaign.

The affidavit, released on the newspaper’s website, states that Longmeyer and Sam McIntosh, co-founder of MC Squared, had discussed “being retained to perform ‘voter contact’” for Beshear’s campaign totaling between $25,000 and $40,000.

Longmeyer, a former chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic Party, faces up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to federal bribery charges April 19.

Prosecutors say Longmeyer received nearly $200,000 in cash and $6,000 in illegal conduit contributions to campaigns for Beshear and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jack Conway through the kickback scheme, in which the former Personnel Cabinet secretary helped steer work to MC Squared through the Kentucky Employees’ Health Plan. He also spoke with McIntosh about continuing the arrangement through jury studies in the Office of the Attorney General, according to the affidavit.

Kentucky Registry of Election Finance records show Beshear’s campaign paid $15,000 to Innovative Strategies for voter outreach, and the firm listed an address for a Louisville home owned by Greg Reddington, a former special assistant in Longmeyer’s office who worked at the Personnel Cabinet from Nov. 1, 2014, until Oct. 1, according to agency records. He earned $71,295 per year when he left the cabinet.

Smith recalled Reddington’s name on an invoice to the campaign and said the firm was paid to improve voter turnout for Andy Beshear in Jefferson County for the Nov. 3 election. He added that he knew Longmeyer and Reddington “were good friends” and that Reddington, once a senior assistant to former Lt. Gov. and Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson during his time as mayor, conducted such political work.

The FBI affidavit says that MC Squared actually received the funds disguised as voter outreach efforts conducted by another firm, and Beshear told reporters Wednesday that his campaign questioned a payment to an unidentified Jefferson County business for the service.

Reddington did not immediately return a phone call or a request for comment left at his home on Thursday.

Smith said Beshear’s campaign spoke with Longmeyer — who worked on the campaign after leaving the Personnel Cabinet in September, according to the affidavit – about voter outreach in Jefferson County given his experience as Democratic Party chairman in the county.

“He said that he had a firm that would do voter IDs, looking for the certain kind of voters that we were looking for in Jefferson County a week or two before the election,” Smith said, noting that the firm was also expected to follow-up with voters during the final get-out-the-vote push in the weekend before the election.

Since then, Smith said he has yet to speak with anyone who was contacted as part of the voter outreach effort.

“If somebody did receive those calls, I’d love to hear from them,” he said. “I would just like to know that work was done, but I have serious doubts that work was ever done. Very serious doubts.”

Smith said he did not ask Longmeyer specifics about the firm because he had trusted the former official, who is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 18, for years. Beshear announced plans to pursue state charges against his former top aide on Wednesday.

“I didn’t say, ‘Who’s the firm? What have they done? Let me see it,’” Smith said.

“We’re coming down to the end of the election and it ended up being a $7 million race total, and I was like, ‘OK Tim, this is your baby. Go do it.’ And I fully regret that.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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