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Bevin says his administration will begin probe of ‘questionable activities’ under former Gov. Beshear

Gov. Matt Bevin announced Tuesday that his administration was launching a special investigation after state officials uncovered when he described as areas of “serious concern dealing with potentially illegal and unethical contracting processes” during the administration of former Gov. Steve Beshear.

During a news conference, Bevin said has asked the Secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet, Col. Bill Landrum, using the extensive investigative powers given to him in KRS Chapter 45, to prepare and issue an RFP for a thorough, in-depth investigation and report by an attorney or law firm with experience in investigating activities and contracts.

Once selected, this firm will work closely with Landrum and his staff, including the Cabinet’s new Inspector General, whose appointment will be announced in the coming days, to make findings and issue a report.

Areas of concern identified include political contributions by state employees, the Medicaid IT system, a no-bid contract to the North Carolina-based SAS Institute and state workers’ compensation.

Gov. Bevin’s Tuesday news conference

Under KRS Chapter 45, such investigation will include the ability to subpoena witnesses and records as may be necessary to accomplish the investigative goals.

“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,” said Bevin.

Bevin referred to “questionable activities” several times while reading a five-page statement. The governor also did not take questions from the media but promised to make the findings of the investigation public when it is complete.

Steve Beshear labeled Bevin’s accusations a “pathetic spectacle.”

Attorney General Andy Beshear, Steve Beshear’s son, issued the following statement in the wake of Bevin’s news conference.

“As the head of an office that is statutorily charged with investigating allegations of corruption, I agree that issues such as no-bid contracts should be carefully scrutinized, including the two no-bid contracts totaling $4 million awarded by the Bevin administration in its first three months. The appropriate agency, however, for investigating the governor’s allegations is the Kentucky Executive Branch Ethics Commission, an independent agency, and not a cabinet that answers to the governor. The governor is once again overstating his authority under state law (KRS chapter 45). Spending taxpayer money on an outside contract when such allegations should be sent to the commission is wasteful.

“Over the last three weeks, I have stood before the public and answered any and every question regarding Mr. (Tim) Longmeyer. United States Attorney Kerry Harvey has definitively stated to the public and the press that there was no involvement by me or my office. The sworn affidavit in that case also found there was no knowledge by any campaign related to any contributions. My campaign is awaiting a routine audit by the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, and will then donate any remaining funds to Common Cause, a government watchdog organization.”

Bevin said it appears that rank-and-file state workers in the Personnel Cabinet were forced to make political contributions to Democratic causes and candidates while Tim Longmeyer was the state personnel secretary. Longmeyer, who later became deputy attorney general, pleaded guilty to bribery Tuesday in federal court.

From Governor’s Office and Attorney General’s Office Communications

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