Former Personnel Cabinet employee admits soliciting campaign dollars on state time in ethics settlement

05/16/2017 03:40 PM

A former aide in the Personnel Cabinet under Tim Longmeyer has admitted to violating the state ethics code after soliciting campaign donations from non-merit workers on state time and agreed to pay a $6,000 penalty.

Walter Gaffield, the former executive director of the cabinet’s Office of Administrative Services, settled with the Executive Branch Ethics Commission Monday.

The agency found that Gaffield had asked other non-merit employees in the Personnel Cabinet for contributions to a gubernatorial re-election campaign and a political party between 2010 and 2012; a Jefferson County judicial campaign between 2012 and 2014; and a gubernatorial campaign and political parties between 2014 and 2016. The ethics commission said that Gaffield had made those requests in the office on state time and referenced the employees’ appointing authority, at times collecting money while on the clock.

While the ethics commission’s initiating order doesn’t specifically name the beneficiaries of Gaffield’s efforts, the time periods in question cover former Gov. Steve Beshear’s 2011 re-election campaign and Attorney General Jack Conway’s failed gubernatorial bid in 2015. Records show that Gaffield was also a contributor to the Kentucky Democratic Party for years and Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Irv Maze in 2012.

A Beshear spokesman said the former governor was not immediately available for comment. Conway did not immediately return a call seeking comment. A Kentucky Democratic Party spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gaffield is the second Personnel Cabinet employee to settle campaign-related charges with the Executive Branch Ethics Commission. Before beginning his 70-month sentence on federal bribery charges, Longmeyer, the ex-cabinet secretary and former top aide in Attorney General Andy Beshear’s office, settled 45 ethics violations. Some dealt with issues stemming from the criminal investigation, and he denied but did not contest allegations that he solicited campaign contributions from subordinate employees.

Allegations of political fundraising on state time by Longmeyer, Gaffield and others came to light in a January report by a law firm hired by Gov. Matt Bevin to investigate potential wrongdoing in his predecessor’s administration.

The Executive Branch Ethics Commission’s settlement agreement with Gaffield can be downloaded here: Gaffield Settlement Agreement.pdf

The commission’s initiating order against Gaffield can be downloaded here: Gaffield Initating Order.pdf

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers Kentucky politics and all the goings-on at the State Capitol. Kevin was born and raised in Frankfort so he grew up around politics and has always had the drive to follow the political process and hold lawmakers accountable. Before joining Spectrum News Kevin covered government and politics for The State Journal in Frankfort. You can watch Kevin’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135.

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