Former Personnel Cabinet secretary Tim Longmeyer was sentenced Thursday to 70 months in prison for federal bribery. He will also have to pay $203,500 in restitution.
U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell said Thursday that Longmeyer had damaged public trust in the government and hoped the sentence would deter future bad actors.
“We live in a time and a country where the public is cynical about its government,” Caldwell said before issuing the sentence.
In April, Longmeyer pled guilty to accepting more than $212,000 in kickbacks in exchange for funneling state contracts to a consulting firm while he was Personnel Cabinet secretary under former Gov. Steve Beshear.
Lexington-based MC Squared Consulting conducted focus groups for Anthem and Humana, which managed the state’s employee health insurance plan over the period. Longmeyer arranged for the state to pay the firm more than $2 million in contract work in exchange for the kickbacks.
Attorney General Andy Beshear, the former governor’s son, hired Longmeyer to be a top deputy in his office. Longmeyer resigned from the position days before he was charged with bribery.
Pursued by reporters as he left the courthouse Thursday afternoon, Longmeyer apologized to the employees of the Personnel Cabinet.
“Any of the people I worked with or worked under and have let down, I’m very sorry,” Longmeyer said. “I’m particularly sorry for the employees that often don’t get the recognition and do the hard work and I might have diminished their accomplishments for some of the things I’ve done, I’m very sorry.”
Longmeyer also apologized to the Beshears.
“They’re a wonderful family,” Longmeyer said. “Both the governor and his wife and Andy are wonderful people and I’m very sorry to anybody I’ve let down.”
At least $6,000 of the bribes came in the form of campaign donations to Andy Beshear’s attorney general campaign and the campaign of Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway, who ran for governor last year.
Longemyer and his family also made $10,000 in contributions to Beshear’s campaign between 2013 and 2015.
Caldwell said that Longmeyer’s case was unique because he didn’t use it to personally enrich himself, but rather gain influence in the political system.
“He risked it all and lost it all for political influence, for financial gain,” Caldwell said before a courtroom filled with Longmeyer’s family members. “He wanted a bigger and more influential seat at the table.”
In letters sent to the judge, Longmeyer’s wife, friends and some colleagues asked for leniency in Longmeyer’s sentencing, stressing his years of public service, charitable actions and faith.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Boone argued that Longmeyer’s crime was “uncommonly serious” and that he led a “secret life” of repetitive crimes that required more than a one-time lapse in judgement.
“A crime like this is corrosive because it breeds mistrust in government,” Boone said.
The U.S. Attorney’s office says the investigation into the kickback scheme is still ongoing, but wouldn’t say if any more indictments are forthcoming.
On Wednesday, Louisville political consultant Larry O’Bryan admitted to helping funnel the kickbacks between MC Squared and Longmeyer. O’Bryan will have to pay $642,201 back to the state, the same amount of payments he received from the consulting company. He will be sentenced in January.
Longmeyer will begin his prison sentence Dec. 12.
This story was produced by Ryland Barton, a reporter with our news partner Kentucky Public Radio.