- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - A former high-ranking state official whose criminal charges were an embarrassment for Kentucky’s former governor and current attorney general has pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge.

Tim Longmeyer abruptly resigned as a deputy in the attorney general’s office two days before a criminal complaint charging him was announced in March. Longmeyer pleaded guilty Tuesday to using his influence as the head of the state’s Personnel Cabinet under former Gov. Steve Beshear to steer contracts to a public relations firm in 2014 and 2015.

Beshear’s son, current Attorney General Andy Beshear, hired Longmeyer as his top deputy earlier this year.

The 48-year-old Longmeyer appeared before U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell and admitted to receiving more than $200,000 in kickbacks from the public relations firm.

Federal prosecutors have not named the consulting firm, but said more people could be charged in the case.

Court documents indicated the kickbacks were given in exchange for Longmeyer’s help in securing contracts with two insurers, Humana and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. An FBI affidavit and federal prosecutors have said Humana and Anthem were unaware of the scheme.

As personnel secretary, Longmeyer oversaw the $1.8 billion Kentucky Employees Health Plan, and the firm was hired by the insurers to provide group testing and telephone surveys. Humana paid a total of $2 million to the consulting firm between 2011 and 2014, according to documents in the case.

Prosecutors also said the firm recruited employees and others to write campaign contribution checks to some state office candidates.

Andy Beshear, the attorney general, said he wouldn’t be surprised if some of those donations were to his campaign. Beshear said in a statement Tuesday that over the last three weeks, he has “stood before the public and answered any and every question regarding Mr. Longmeyer.” His office is not suspected of any wrongdoing by federal authorities.

Longmeyer was allowed to remain free on bond until his sentencing date on Aug. 18. He faces up to 10 years in prison on the single bribery charge.


This version corrects that Longmeyer was charged in a criminal complaint.

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