Exclusive: Attorney General Andy Beshear talks about former deputy Tim Longmeyer, impact of bribery scheme on office
03/28/2016 07:55 PM
FRANKFORT — Days after the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced they were charging Tim Longmeyer, Attorney General Andy Beshear’s recently departed deputy and former secretary of the Personnel Cabinet, with bribery the first-year Democratic officeholder confessed he was shocked.
“To say I was shocked or disappointed, hurt is an understatement. It was hard to believe,” Beshear said of learning about the news Friday morning from law enforcement.
Beshear now has the task of getting back on track in the office, and distancing himself from his former top deputy. In doing so, Beshear has already named J. Michael Brown to the post.
Brown has been the head of the criminal division and served previously as secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet for eight years under former Gov. Steve Beshear.
“A man of great integrity, who is going to be the right person to help us turn the page on something very unexpected, but in the end unrelated and get back to that core mission that we are so focused on,” he said of Brown in announcing the hire in an interview with Pure Politics Monday.
Meanwhile, Longmeyer has been charged with participating in a kickback scheme with others to persuade Humana and Anthem to hire and pay for consulting services. A criminal complaint filed on Friday by the FBI, says Longmeyer then laundered proceeds through a series of transactions, then converting the funds to cash and political contributions.
As Pure Politics reported earlier, the Lexington-based consulting firm MC Squared Consulting, first identified by the Courier-Journal as allegedly funneling more than $200,000 in kickbacks to Longmeyer, was closed for business on Monday.
Some contributions from MC Squared employees appear to match with $4,000 of the $6,000 prosecutors believe the firm paid Longmeyer in the form of conduit political contributions, of which the campaigns were unaware.
The complaint filed by the FBI does not name the business, and so far has only charged Longmeyer.
On Monday, Beshear said he was unaware of the firm, though he said the company did contribute some to last year’s campaign.
“It does look like we had some donations from there. Now what’s in the Courier and what’s in the criminal complaint — I think there is some discrepancy about numbers,” Beshear said. “So what I want to do is let all the facts come in. We are going to seek guidance from the U.S. Attorney and from the Registry of Election Finance.
“If any money that was tainted through this process came to the campaign — which if it did the U.S. attorney’s already said there’s no way we would have known — I want to make sure it finds a good home like (non-profit watchdog agency) Common Cause.”
U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey and the FBI made very clear that the Office of the Attorney General and the work Longmeyer was conducting there is not involved in any wrongdoing.
“We don’t take anything for granted, and so we internally are making sure that everything that has occurred is appropriate,” he said. “This office stands for so much more, it has that core mission, and a guiding principle of do what’s right every time.”
“What I’m going to do is show up every day is to show up every day to continue to being one of the hardest working attorney generals the people have ever seen in this job, and to make sure that we spend our time doing the things we have to do, because those victims of abuse out there need us,” Beshear continued. “Seniors have never faced more scams than they do right now, I’m committed to getting through that rape kit backlog.”
The tenacity to get things done and fight for what’s right, Beshear said will outweigh any shadow or concerns based on hiring Longmeyer and the allegations relating to his former employment, “that we knew nothing about.”
With Longmeyer’s ties to his former position, Pure Politics asked Beshear if the attorney general’s office would seek further investigation into the Personnel Cabinet.
“Once all those facts come out we’ll look at it and we’ll do the right thing under state law. Right now the FBI’s investigation seems comprehensive, but again there’s facts that we don’t know.”
Watch the full interview with Beshear in the clip below.
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