FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A former state employee is refusing to comply with Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s investigation into a no-bid contract awarded by his Democratic predecessor.
Bevin is investigating whether the $3 million contract that former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear awarded to SAS Institute complied with state procurement laws. Frank Lassiter is a former state worker who was a consultant for SAS at the time, and his wife Mary was the executive cabinet secretary for Beshear.
Beshear awarded the no-bid contract on his last day in office.
Bevin asked a judge Thursday to force Lassiter to comply with a subpoena for documents and testimony. Lassiter’s attorney said they would fight the subpoena in court.
“Frank followed all the rules that one has to follow when leaving state government,” Attorney J. Guthrie True said. “This is not about fact finding, this is really about politics. I don’t intend to have my client be treated as a political pawn.”
The inquiry is part of a broader investigation of what Bevin alleges is corruption in the Beshear administration. Earlier this year, Bevin awarded a contract to an Indiana-based law firm of Taft, Stettinius & Hollister to assist with the probe.
Democrats have criticized the investigation as politically motivated, noting the law firm Bevin hired has several Republican connections, including Jackie Bennett Jr., one of the lead prosecutors of former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment.
The contract was to provide “fraud detection services” for kynect, Kentucky’s state-operated health insurance exchange. In an affidavit filed with the court, Inspector General Ken Bohac said the contract and others previously awarded to SAS Institute appear to have violated state procurement laws and the “well-established policies and procedures of the Finance and Administration Cabinet.”
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