LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDRB) -- A former Kentucky personnel cabinet secretary and deputy attorney general pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge Tuesday afternoon.

Tim Longmeyer made the plea in federal court today, according to WDRB's Lawrence Smith, who was in the courtroom at the time.

Longmeyer, who resigned last month as a deputy attorney general, was accused of using his state position in the Personnel Cabinet to steer work to an unidentified company "in exchange for cash payments and conduit contribution checks made payable to certain political campaigns," the complaint says.

Longmeyer faces up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. He will be sentenced in August.

The FBI claimed that, while heading the Personnel Cabinet, Longmeyer "abused his authority" over the Kentucky Employees’ Health Plan to persuade health insurance giants Anthem and Humana to hire the unidentified company for consulting work. The company then funneled the money into cash payments for Longmeyer and campaign contributions to his chosen candidates for state office.

Humana and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield have contracts with the state Personnel Cabinet to administer the state employee health plan, according to the complaint.

The insurance companies are not named as defendants in the case, and authorities said they have no reason to believe Humana and Anthem officials knew about the scheme, U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey said in a press conference last month.

Still, Louisville-based Humana "intends to conduct a full internal investigation to confirm that there was no wrongdoing on the part of Humana associates," company spokesman Tom Noland said in an email. Noland added that Humana did not learn about the Longmeyer allegations until the complaint was filed last month.

The complaint does not identify the political candidates that received Longmeyer's laundered donations, and authorities said they had no reason to believe the candidates were aware of how the money was obtained.

Longmeyer is a former chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic Party. He served as Personnel Cabinet Secretary in the administration of former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear from 2011 until last September, when he announced he was resigning to practice law.

Shortly before Longmeyer stepped down, he and "other members of the conspiracy" found a new funding source, according to the complaint. It involved funneling $22,500 to Longmeyer from a $48,000 consulting contract with Anthem.

Attorney General Andy Beshear, the former governor’s son, hired Longmeyer to be his deputy attorney general last December. Longmeyer spent more than 14 years as a prosecutor in Jefferson County, according to Beshear’s office.

In a statement last month, after the allegations surfaced, Andy Beshear said he was "disappointed" and "even devastated" by the allegations against Longmeyer.

"The allegations deal with his prior employment, and are entirely unrelated to his time in the Attorney General’s Office. My office is fully cooperating with the U.S. Attorney and the FBI, and will continue to do so," Beshear said.

Steve Beshear, who returned to private law practice after his term as governor ran out Dec. 7, said in a statement after the allegations surfaced that he was "shocked and dismayed" by the allegations against Longmeyer.

"Soon after I took office, I used my powers of executive order to put in place a strong set of ethics rules, stronger than required, and I made it clear that everyone in the Executive Branch was to be held to the highest standard," Beshear said. "This is obviously a surprise, and we await the outcome of the judicial process."

Here is the criminal complaint:

Last month, Attorney General Andy Beshear hired another veteran of his father's administration to replace Longmeyer, after he resigned.

Former Justice Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown became the state's new deputy attorney general. Brown and Longmeyer both worked for former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear. Last month, Longmeyer was accused of accepting kickbacks to steer state business to a private consulting firm. He resigned days later for personal reasons.


Ex-Kentucky Personnel Cabinet Secretary Tim Longmeyer charged with bribery

Copyright 2016 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.