Politics & Government

Beshear aide Tim Longmeyer pleads guilty to bribery; investigation continues

U.S. attorney on former cabinet secretary’s plea

U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey discussed the guilty plea from former Personnel Cabinet Secretary Timothy M. Longmeyer. He admitted he asked for and accepted kickbacks of more than $200,000 during his tenure.
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U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey discussed the guilty plea from former Personnel Cabinet Secretary Timothy M. Longmeyer. He admitted he asked for and accepted kickbacks of more than $200,000 during his tenure.

Timothy Michael Longmeyer, a Kentucky Democratic Party insider who was former Gov. Steve Beshear’s personnel secretary, pleaded guilty Tuesday to soliciting more than $200,000 in bribes from state business deals.

Longmeyer, 48, faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced Aug. 18 in U.S. District Court in Lexington. It’s likely that Chief Judge Karen Caldwell will reduce his sentence to reflect that Longmeyer cooperated with authorities by waiving indictment and agreeing to plead guilty with no chance of appeal. Charges against him were made public last month.

Caldwell released Longmeyer until his sentencing. Through his attorney, Brian Butler, he declined to comment to reporters in the courtroom.

Prosecutors say Longmeyer took kickbacks from a contractor in 2014 and 2015 while he ran the Personnel Cabinet for Beshear. In exchange for $197,500 in cash and $6,000 in illegal campaign donations, Longmeyer arranged for the contractor to organize focus groups and perform telephone surveys for Humana and Anthem, the companies that provided insurance to state workers through the the Kentucky Employees’ Health Plan.

Prosecutors have publicly identified the contractor only with the initials “S.M.” But Gov. Matt Bevin, in a news conference Tuesday criticizing the Beshear administration for alleged ethics lapses, said the “alleged co-conspirator” was Lexington-based MC Squared Consulting, co-founded by Hazard native and longtime Democratic political aide Sam. C. McIntosh.

Longmeyer might not be the last person charged in the case, U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey said after Tuesday’s hearing. Harvey declined to say whether Longmeyer was providing incriminating information on other people as part of his plea deal.

Our investigation is continuing, that much I can say. We’ll have further announcements at an appropriate time.

U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey

“Our investigation is continuing, that much I can say,” Harvey said. “We’ll have further announcements at an appropriate time.”

Prosecutors also have not revealed who received illegal campaign donations from the scheme, concealed through “straw donors.” During the 2015 elections, Longmeyer gave his own money to Attorney General Andy Beshear and other Democratic candidates, including Secretary of State Alison Grimes, then-state Auditor Adam Edelen and gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway.

Longmeyer, a Louisville lawyer, was chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic Party from 2003 to 2011 and a longtime member of the state Democratic Party’s central executive committee, positions that put him in the thick of many local and statewide political campaigns.

Beshear named Longmeyer deputy personnel secretary in 2008, promoting him to personnel secretary three years later. While he was at the Personnel Cabinet, overseeing the state workforce, Longmeyer helped revive The Capitol Club to raise campaign money for Steve Beshear and other Democrats from state employees in Frankfort. The group held at least one fundraiser with Beshear at the Governor’s Mansion. Annual dues were $300, but for $500 state employees could play a round of golf in the “Beshear Open.”

Last fall, Steve Beshear’s son, Andy, was elected attorney general. Andy Beshear hired Longmeyer as his deputy attorney general — the office’s No. 2 spot. Longmeyer abruptly quit with a handwritten note on March 23, as the criminal case against him was about to be made public.

“I must leave for personal reasons,” Longmeyer wrote in his resignation note. “I have appreciated the opportunity to serve under your leadership.”

Steve and Andy Beshear expressed surprise last month when Longmeyer was charged with bribery.

“To say I am disappointed or even devastated by these allegations is an understatement,” Andy Beshear said at the time.

Prosecutors say the consulting company that Longmeyer helped ended up with $2 million in deals from Humana and Anthem from 2009 to 2015. In return, the company kicked back a portion of that money to the personnel secretary, sometimes meeting him in parking lots in Woodford County to hand over bags of cash.

Authorities have not charged MC Squared Consulting or McIntosh, its co-founder and manager. McIntosh could not be reached for comment in recent days.

Political donations from MC Squared Consulting employees match some dates and amounts described in the affidavit of FBI agent Jim Huggins, filed last month as part of the criminal case, according to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. Also, state Personnel Cabinet records show that at least as far back as 2009, Humana hired MC Squared Consulting for focus group studies on the state employee insurance plan.

For example, an August 2009 contract for just over $151,000 matches the time frame of the first contract cited in the FBI affidavit. Longmeyer signed that purchase request on behalf of the state, as well as others.

MC Squared Consulting’s website has mostly been deactivated, but past information collected from the site by the Internet Archive shows McIntosh had extensive involvement with Kentucky’s Democratic politicians.

After earning degrees at the University of Kentucky in political science and business administration, McIntosh was a staff assistant to state Sen. Benny Ray Bailey of Hindman in the early 1980s before working on Gov. Martha Layne Collins’ 1983 election campaign. Later, he was assistant to Edward M. Coleman, Kentucky Democratic Party chairman, where he coordinated polling in political campaigns in 1986 and 1987, and served as liaison to House and Senate leaders.

State records show that McIntosh co-founded MC Squared Consulting in its earliest incarnation in 1991. The firm’s most recently listed address was in a small office complex near Richmond Road and Man o’ War Boulevard.

Archived information from the company’s website indicates Grady Stumbo, then head of the Kentucky Democratic Party, hired MC Squared Consulting in 1992 as the party’s polling and general consultant. By 2009, McIntosh had been involved in more than 150 political campaigns across the country, according to the archived information.

McIntosh has given fairly little of his own money to politicians in the past 20 years years — $1,000 to Steve Beshear in 2009 and $2,250 to the various federal and state campaigns of former Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher.

John Cheves: 859-231-3266, @BGPolitics