The Chatter: Presidential candidates coming back to Kentucky, AG Beshear wants special prosecutor to handle Longmeyer case

05/13/2016 02:04 PM

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders are rallying their Kentucky supporters ahead of Tuesday’s primary with planned stops this weekend.

Clinton, the front-runner for her party’s nomination, will hold a get-out-the-vote rally in Louisville before traveling to another event in Covington on Sunday, with additional stops planned for Bowling Green and Lexington on Monday.

Her campaign announced on Friday that she would be traveling to Kentucky those days to ask voters for their support and to hit the polls next week.

“She will also discuss why she is the best candidate to raise incomes for Kentucky families, to lower health care costs and improve education, and to break down the barriers that hold too many Americans back,” Clinton’s campaign wrote in a press advisory, noting that additional details would be released later.

Her trip comes on the heels of a campaign swing through western Kentucky by Sanders, whose campaign announced Thursday that he would make stops in Bowling Green on Saturday and Paducah on Sunday. Doors open at Bowling Green’s Historical Railpark and Train Museum at 5 p.m. central standard time and at Paducah’s Julian Carroll Convention Center at 11 a.m. CST.

The presidential hopeful “will discuss a wide range of issues, including getting big money out of politics, his plan to make public colleges and universities tuition-free, combating climate change and ensuring universal health care,” Sanders’ campaign said in the announcement.

Attorney general cites conflict in appointing special prosecutor

Attorney General Andy Beshear has reached out to Franklin County Commonwealth’s Attorney Larry Cleveland to handle a state investigation into former Deputy Attorney General Tim Longmeyer, who pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges in April.

Longmeyer pleaded guilty to charges that he accepted nearly $200,000 in kickbacks from a Lexington-based consultant identified as MC Squared Consulting.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation alleged in an affidavit that one transaction involved a voter outreach effort through Beshear’s attorney general campaign last year, although MC Squared Consulting was not reported as the recipient of those funds. The $15,000 payment went to Greg Reddington, a former Longmeyer aide in the Personnel Cabinet and a former aide to ex-Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson during his time as Louisville mayor, according to Beshear’s campaign manager.

Beshear, who announced last week that Longmeyer would face an investigation by his office, initially said he would not recuse himself from the inquiry.

From The Courier-Journal’s report Thursday:

Cleveland said he got a phone call from a member of Beshear’s staff on Wednesday, was asked to take over the case, and agreed to do so.

“They came to the conclusion that they had an unavoidable conflict since Longmeyer used to work for the Attorney General’s Office,” Cleveland said. “I don’t know anything about the case except what I read in the paper. The guy’s already plead in federal court, so, I don’t know what much else they think I’m supposed to do to him.”

Cleveland said, “But I told them send me what information there is on this, I’ll take a look at it and figure out what I can do.”

Beshear said in a statement, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader, “Last week I showed my commitment to pursue public corruption regardless of the source. As part of that pursuit, we have appointed a special prosecutor to handle the Tim Longmeyer case. We are confident Mr. Cleveland will hold him accountable.”

Republican Party of Kentucky spokesman Tres Watson said in a statement that “Kentuckians deserve answers” on why Beshear stepped aside from the investigation.

“Since defiantly rebuffing calls to recuse himself last week, what has Andy Beshear uncovered about his father’s administration and his own office and campaign that led to this change of heart?” he said.

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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