Retired FBI agent, Kentucky native still hot on trail of public corruption

Published 6:07 am Sunday, April 4, 2021

Jim Huggins had been eligible to retire from the Federal Bureau of Investigations since 2016, but was happy working in the bureau’s Lexington office.

But when the Frankfort native was conducting an interview at Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office, he heard an offer that intrigued him.

“Barry Dunn is the deputy attorney general, and one time I was interviewing Attorney General Cameron on something totally different,” Huggins said. “When I was done, Barry came in and said, ‘We’re thinking about creating a public corruption unit. Would you be interested in being part of it?’”

Huggins had one stipulation, though.

“I said to him ‘I wouldn’t want to be ever told who I could or couldn’t investigate based on politics,’” Huggins recalled. “He told me, ‘We will never tell you who to investigate based on their political affiliation. We’re not going to play politics at all.’ He said if someone’s breaking the law, then investigate him. That sold me on it, and I believe it’s 100% sincere.”

So upon retiring from his federal post in Lexington after eight years there, the 52 year-old Huggins took the state role and is working to form the agency’s public corruption unit.

Huggins emphasized that his work won’t be that much different from that of an FBI agent, as his focus was on public corruption in Kentucky. One bonus, he said, is that he won’t have to meet certain dollar criteria in the cases he investigates.
Having only been three weeks on the job, he said the specifics of his new role aren’t fully sorted out yet.

Eight years in Kentucky, and beyond

Huggins said that in the Lexington FBI office, he covered a large swath of Kentucky, from Shelbyville to the state’s eastern edge.

His father, Jim Huggins Sr., also investigated public corruption in the area for several years. Overall, Huggins Sr. spent 27 years with the FBI and still lives in Frankfort. The younger Huggins graduated from Franklin County High School in 1986.
The two are the only father-son duo to have retired from the Lexington FBI office.