The former secretary of the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet has been charged with accepting bribes to hire a consulting firm for the state’s employee health plan, which the cabinet administers.
A complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Lexington alleges Tim Longmeyer, who was until this week the state’s deputy attorney general, took more than $200,000 to persuade administrators of the state health plan — Humana and Anthem — to hire a consulting firm for public relations and focus group work.
The FBI also alleges he used his official position to steer work to a consulting firm in exchange for cash payments and contributions to political campaigns.
“A representative of the firm personally delivered the cash and conduit campaign contributions to Mr. Longmeyer,” U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey said in a press conference Friday.
Harvey refused to say which campaigns received contributions.
“We have no reason to believe that the candidates whose campaigns received the tainted funds were aware of the scheme or the illegal sources of the funds contributed to their campaigns,” he said.
The complaint alleges that the consulting firm was paid more than $2 million by Humana and Anthem.
Longmeyer is the former chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic Party. He served as Personnel Cabinet Secretary under former Gov. Steve Beshear from 2011 until September 2015. He was hired by Attorney General Andy Beshear in December.
Howard Marshall, a special agent in charge of Louisville’s FBI division, said the investigation stemmed from the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office identifying corruption as Kentucky’s “number one” criminal threat. It was helped along by an informant at the consulting firm.
“We did so largely because of Kentucky’s willingness to accept corruption on some level, historically accept corruption, or worse, accept it as a way of doing business in the commonwealth,” Marshall said.
Marshall wouldn’t say whether any other current or former state employees are involved in the investigation.
In a statement to reporters Friday afternoon, Beshear said Longmeyer resigned from his office earlier in the week. Beshear said he first learned of the complaint Friday.
“The allegations deal with his prior employment and are entirely unrelated to his time in the Attorney General’s Office,” Beshear said. “To say I am disappointed or even devastated by these allegations is an understatement. Our guiding principle in the AG’s Office has been ‘do the right thing, every time.’ We will continue to follow that principle.”