Friends of Steve: Beshear’s Pattern of Using Taxpayer Money for Benefactors’ Private Gain

Reports that Gov. Steve Beshear’s office arranged meetings with state agencies to benefit his campaign supporters are the latest in a long list of dubious decisions made by the governor’s office and continues his habit of putting his political supporters ahead of the public interest.

“Unfortunately, Steve Beshear has made a habit of looking out for his political benefactors over the interests of Kentucky taxpayers,” said RGA spokesman Mike Schrimpf. “Instead of finding ways to enrich his friends, Steve Beshear should be focused on the 200,000+ Kentuckians who are out work.”


  • In November 2008, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported that “Gov. Steve Beshear’s Office of Homeland Security is becoming a popular entrance to the state payroll for his friends, Democratic political activists and donors.”

Beshear’s hires included:

o   Ralph Coldiron, a Democratic activist, who was given a $100,000 per year job as executive director for emergency telecommunications services.  Coldiron later resigned under fire for accepting a controversial pay raise that apparently violated state law.

o   Thomas Preston, who was given a $125,000 per year “adviser” job and later named the head of Homeland Security. Previously, Preston worked at a public relations firm.

o   Aaron Horner, who was given a $70,000 per year job and the title of Homeland Security deputy executive director. He had made nearly $20,000 in political contributions over the years, including to Beshear.

o   Chuck Geveden was given a $70,000 per year Homeland Security administrative job after serving as campaign driver for Beshear.  He later moved to the Transportation Cabinet, from which he recently resigned amid an investigation after being caught filing a false time sheet and expense report and using his official position to obtain NASCAR passes.

o   Charles Geveden, the father of Chuck Geveden and a former state legislator, was given a job at the Justice Cabinet.

o   Paul “Will” Carle was given a $52,000 per year job as Homeland Security “staff adviser” after working as a political consultant and blogger.

  • In February 2008, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported that a judge appointed by Gov. Beshear may have violated the Kentucky Code of Judicial Conduct by contributing to the campaign of Beshear’s preferred candidate in a special Senate election. Before his appointment, the judge had also contributed to Beshear’s 2007 campaign.
  • In March 2008, state records indicating Beshear had met with casino magnate Bill Yung, who had contributed $1 million to help elect Beshear, mysteriously disappeared.
  • In June 2008, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Gov. Beshear had hired his former law firm to serve as the governor’s office outside counsel.
  • On December 1, 2010, the Associated Press reported that Gov. Beshear “is trying to spare the jobs of dozens of political appointees whose positions are set to be eliminated at the end of the year under a new budget-cutting law.” The vice president of the Kentucky Association of State Employees told the AP that “[m]any of these jobs don’t actually do anything that serves the public.”
  • On December 9, 2010, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Gov. Beshear insisted that every one of the 81 political appointment jobs he was trying to save were essential to state government, even though more than 10 percent of the jobs were vacant and 40 percent of the remaining jobs were held by Democratic donors.