Bevin pledges to 'clean up' Beshear's mess
Former state Personnel Secretary Tim Longmeyer arranged for illegal campaign donations to be made in 2015 to Democrats Andy Beshear, who was elected attorney general and hired Longmeyer as his deputy, and Jack Conway, who failed in his gubernatorial bid, according to newly released court records.
The money came from a kickback scheme Longmeyer established with Lexington-based MC Squared Consulting and its co-founder, Samuel C. McIntosh, according to court records. In exchange for $197,500 in cash and $6,000 in illegal campaign donations, Longmeyer helped the firm get work organizing focus groups and conducting telephone surveys for Humana and Anthem, companies that provided insurance to state workers through the Kentucky Employees’ Health Plan.
Some “straw” campaign donations were made by MC Squared employees, later reimbursed by their employer, and others were made by Longmeyer in other people’s names using part of the bribe money he collected, according to court records. The records do not identify the listed names of the donors or the totals given, although they do mention at least three $1,000 donations going to Beshear on May 29 and two $1,000 donations going to Conway on March 12.
Longmeyer — a longtime Kentucky Democratic Party insider — also helped MC Squared get “voter outreach” work from Beshear’s election campaign, with the billing disguised to conceal its true beneficiary, and he promised to continue helping McIntosh after Longmeyer became deputy attorney general this year, according to court records.
“I have a friend who is going into the attorney general’s office,” McIntosh told an undercover special agent for the FBI in a secretly recorded conversation on Jan. 5. In the same recording, McIntosh read aloud a text message he received days earlier from Longmeyer: “‘Sam, we need to talk about doing focus groups and polling (inaudible) the AG’s office.’”
In another recorded conversation shortly after last November’s election, McIntosh said to an FBI informant who worked at MC Squared, “Tim’s already told me that, after the first of the year, we’re going to be doing work,” according to court records. When the informant asked what kind of work Longmeyer offered, McIntosh said “jury studies,” according to court records.
Longmeyer has pleaded guilty to bribery in the case and faces up to 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced Aug. 18. Nobody else has been publicly charged, although prosecutors say their investigation continues. MC Squared no longer answers phones at its office, and McIntosh has been unavailable for comment in recent weeks.
At the request of the Herald-Leader, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew T. Boone asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Wier to unseal a batch of records related to the case. Wier released those records late Tuesday, including the March 24 affidavit filed by FBI Agent James Huggins when he requested search warrants for the office of MC Squared and the homes, cellphones and bodies of McIntosh and Myron D. Harrod, one of McIntosh’s colleagues. Harrod also has been unavailable for comment in recent weeks.
The documents were redacted — sometimes heavily. Boone said in a motion filed Tuesday that prosecutors want to protect the identities of “certain targets and subjects of the investigation” who have not been publicly identified, and “one individual who was previously suspected of involvement in Longmeyer’s crimes” but no longer is. Some of the redacted portions appear to explain the illegal campaign donations in greater detail, including two pages that are blacked out entirely.
In his affidavit, Huggins stated that he “has no reason to believe that Andrew Beshear or Jack Conway were aware of this scheme or the illegal source of the funds contributed to their campaigns.”
Beshear condemns Longmeyer’s crimes and had no knowledge of them until his former deputy was charged in March, just a few days after abruptly resigning, spokesman Terry Sebastian said. Once a routine audit of Beshear’s campaign account is completed by the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, any surplus funds will be donated to the government watchdog group Common Cause, Sebastian said.
“Andy has made it very clear from the beginning that he was hurt by what Tim has done,” Sebastian said. “But this has nothing to do with Andy, and it’s nothing that he knew was going on.”
Conway could not immediately be reached for comment.
Beshear inherited Longmeyer from his father, former Gov. Steve Beshear, for whom Longmeyer worked as personnel secretary.
While he ran the Personnel Cabinet, Longmeyer helped MC Squared get more than $2 million in contracts from Humana and Anthem on the state employee insurance plan, prosecutors say. Longmeyer told McIntosh how much to charge the companies and how much to kick back to him, which resulted in “billing of excessive consulting fees for substandard services,” according to court records. The firm’s focus groups and telephone surveys were padded with repetitive “filler” questions, and to save money, the same respondents sometimes were used multiple times, according to court records.
Harrod told one of the FBI’s undercover agents in the case “that the focus groups and telephone surveys were ‘basically crap,’” Huggins wrote in his affidavit.
The insurance plan that paid for these contracts covers 300,000 state employees and their dependents.
Apart from the MC Squared employees, who were illegally reimbursed by their employer for making 2015 campaign donations, Longmeyer used at least some of the cash he collected from bribes to make his own illegal donations through other people, according to court records. It’s illegal to give money through other people because such fraudulent donations violate campaign-finance limits on individual donors.
“The investigation has also determined that Longmeyer’s (redacted) illegal efforts to fund conduit campaign contributions were motivated by the prospect of personal clout and financial gain,” Huggins wrote in his affidavit. Prosecutors then redacted at least one specific example of the personal clout or financial gain that Longmeyer expected to get.
Confidential sources assisting the FBI, including one who worked at MC Squared and had regular access to its financial records, told Huggins that McIntosh and Harrod were involved in a marijuana trafficking operation, according to court records. McIntosh often received marijuana from a supplier in California for distribution in Kentucky, with Harrod’s assistance, Huggins wrote in his affidavit.
In his search warrant affidavit, Huggins requested permission to look for marijuana and weighing scales or other paraphernalia associated with drug sales. The records unsealed Tuesday don’t establish what the FBI found during its searches.