Politics & Government

Former Steve Beshear aide admits to soliciting campaign donations from state workers

Former Gov. Steve Beshear speaks to the media during a press conference held at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Frankfort, on April 27, addressing Gov. Matt Bevin’s claim of corruption with Beshear’s administration.
Former Gov. Steve Beshear speaks to the media during a press conference held at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Frankfort, on April 27, addressing Gov. Matt Bevin’s claim of corruption with Beshear’s administration.

An official in the administration of former Gov. Steve Beshear admitted Monday to using his position to solicit campaign contributions from employees of the Personnel Cabinet and to falsifying time sheets.

William Ryan, a former special assistant to the secretary of the cabinet, admitted to soliciting campaign donations from two political appointees in the personnel cabinet in 2010 and 2011, according to the Executive Branch Ethics Commission.

According to the commission, Ryan told an employee that, based on her salary, she was required to donate $250 to Beshear’s 2011 re-election campaign. Ryan also told a second employee that her donation was “required” and at one point escorted her to the Transportation Cabinet’s cafeteria to get her donation.

Neither of the employees were named in the ethics commission’s report.

Ryan was one of six Beshear Administration employees named in an investigation requested by Gov. Matt Bevin. The report found three political appointees, known as non-merit employees, who “identified verbal solicitations” from Ryan.

State law forbids soliciting state employees for campaign donations, unless the solicitation is part of a larger plan that includes others who don’t work for the state.

“Governor Bevin’s commitment to cleaning up the mess in Frankfort continues to bear fruit,” said Tres Watson, communications director for the Republican Party of Kentucky. “Steve Beshear called Governor Bevin’s investigation a ‘joke’ and ‘a waste of time’, but multiple Beshear Administration officials mentioned in it have now pled or been found guilty of ethics violations.”

Beshear could not immediately be reached for comment.

Ryan also admitted to claiming to have worked during times when he did not show up to the cabinet’s offices in 2014 and 2015. The ethics commission said other cabinet employees only saw Ryan appear at the cabinet’s offices on days when his time sheet was due.

Ryan was fined $4,000 and waived his right to appeal.

Ryan was an assistant to Tim Longmeyer, who pleaded guilty in 2016 to taking more than $200,000 in kickbacks during his time with the Personnel Cabinet in return for getting work for a Lexington company called MC Squared.

In addition, a federal grand jury indicted James F. Sullivan, a consultant with longstanding ties to state Democratic Party politics, last month on one charge of conspiracy and three charges of paying bribes to Longmeyer.

Daniel Desrochers: 502-875-3793, @drdesrochers, @BGPolitics

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