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Attorney General Beshear Still Waiting To Return Tainted Contributions

J. Tyler Franklin/WFPL News

Attorney General Andy Beshear still hasn’t returned contributions made to his 2015 campaign by a former top aide who admitted to taking bribes and is now serving time in federal prison.

Beshear announced last year that he would donate the funds to political watchdog group Common Cause once a routine audit of his campaign account is complete.

The Kentucky Registry for Election Finance confirmed Monday that the audit is still not complete.

Tim Longmeyer was Beshear’s deputy attorney general and last year admitted taking more than $212,000 from a consulting firm in exchange for awarding state contracts to the firm.

The charges stemmed from Longmeyer’s time as secretary of the state Personnel Cabinet under former Gov. Steve Beshear, the attorney general’s father.

In a statement, Attorney General Beshear reiterated his promise to donate the funds, which he said would be larger than the Longmeyer donations.

“One year ago, I vowed when the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance completes the audit of my campaign that I would contribute not just any money that was contributed by Longmeyer, but I would donate every remaining dollar after any action from KREF to Common Cause,” Beshear said.

“[The Kentucky Registry for Election Finance] is still in the middle of the audit. Once it is finished, all remaining funds will be donated. This is a promise I am keeping 100 percent.”

Campaign finance reports show that Longmeyer and his family donated $10,000 to Beshear’s campaign between 2013 and 2015. Two employees from MC Squared — the consulting firm involved in the kickback scheme — donated $3,500 to the campaign.

Longmeyer was sentenced to 70 months in prison last year.

The Kentucky Registry of Election Finance routinely audits every campaign account to check for accounting errors and make sure donors don’t exceed contribution limits.

Longmeyer admitted to arranging for the state to pay MC Squared more than $2 million in contract work in exchange for the kickbacks. MC Squared conducted focus groups for Anthem and Humana, which managed the state’s employee health insurance plan.

At least $6,000 of the bribes didn’t end up in Longmeyer’s pocket but in the campaign accounts of Beshear and former Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway, who ran for governor in 2015.

Conway and Beshear have not been implicated in the bribery scheme. Prosecutors last year said they had “no reason to believe” candidates knew the money had been improperly obtained.

Louisville political consultant Larry O’Bryan admitted to helping funnel the kickbacks between MC Squared and Longmeyer. O’Bryan paid more than $642,000 back to the state, the same amount of payments he received from the consulting company. He was sentenced to serve five years in prison in March.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives for Kentucky Public Radio, a group of public radio stations including WKMS, WFPL in Louisville, WEKU in Richmond and WKYU in Bowling Green. A native of Lexington, Ryland most recently served as the Capitol Reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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