Politics & Government

Bevin awards $500,000 contract to probe Beshear administration

Gov. Matt Bevin
Gov. Matt Bevin palcalal@herald-leader.com

Gov. Matt Bevin has awarded a two-year, $500,000 contract to an Indianapolis law firm to look for corruption in the administration of his predecessor, Steve Beshear.

Taft Stettinius & Hollister will work with Kenneth F. Bohac, the newly hired inspector general of the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet. The firm is charged with investigating possible violations of state spending rules and possible coercion of state workers for campaign donations, according to its contact. However, “the investigatory scope of the contact may be expanded ... to include additional violations of the public trust,” the contract states.

In April, Bevin, a Republican, held a news conference to say that his aides had uncovered “greed and oftentimes corruption” that occurred during the eight-year administration of Beshear, a Democrat. Bevin referenced the criminal case of Tim Longmeyer, who was Beshear’s personnel secretary and who pleaded guilty this year to his role in a kickback scheme involving a state employee health insurance contract.

Bevin said his administration would hire professional investigators to oversee a probe.

“A thorough, independent investigation like this can expose and cast light upon prior unsavory — and perhaps illegal — practices, but can also provide the public a degree of confidence in a fair and transparent governance that was so glaringly absent in the past administration,” Bevin said at the time.

Beshear issued a statement hours later saying that Bevin’s accusations “have absolutely no basis in truth.”

Taft Stettinius & Hollister employs more than 400 lawyers in a half-dozen states, including Kentucky. A public records check shows that its lawyers have given several hundred thousand dollars in campaign donations in recent years to politicians and parties on both sides of the aisle, including Beshear and his son, state Attorney General Andy Beshear, and the Kentucky Republican Party and GOP members of the state’s congressional delegation.