BRADENTON, Fla. – Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin said Tuesday that he ordered a pay-to-play investigation into "potentially illegal and unethical contracting processes" during the administration of his predecessor, Steve Beshear.
Bevin, a Republican who took office earlier this year, outlined a number of accusations at a press conference. He did not take questions from the press.
Bevin also said that his office uncovered evidence of some employees being coerced into making political contributions to high-level officials in the last administration.
Contributions reportedly went to Democratic candidates, including Attorney General Andy Beshear, Bevin said. Beshear, a Democrat who took office in January, is the son of the former governor.
Bevin said he obtained some information to support his allegations from the federal criminal investigation of Tim Longmeyer, the former secretary of the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet.
Longmeyer was charged last month by federal investigators with taking more than $200,000 in kickbacks from a private consulting company while he was in office. Some allegations involved political contributions.
In response to the governor, Andy Beshear, the attorney general, said that he agreed 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."
Beshear also said he and his office were not involved with Longmeyer, and he pledged to donate any contributions that may have been accepted without his knowledge to Common Cause.
Bill Landrum, the secretary of the finance and administration cabinet, will issue a request for proposals seeking an attorney or law firm to conduct an in-depth investigate of the governor's findings.
The results will be turned over to the state inspector general, who Bevin said he would appoint "in the coming days."
Beshear said the appropriate agency to investigate the governor's allegations is the independent Kentucky Executive Branch Ethics Commission, and not a cabinet that answers to the governor.
Earlier this month, Beshear filed suit against Bevin claiming that higher education budget cuts ordered by the governor were improper. The suit is pending.