Indicted Again: Ex-Gov. Rowland Faces Illegal Campaign Charges

Connecticut's ex-Governor is named in a federal indictment charging him with election fraud.

Ex-Gov. John Rowland. Myleftnutmeg.com photo.
Ex-Gov. John Rowland. Myleftnutmeg.com photo.

It wasn't unexpected. The rumors have been circulating for weeks.

Former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland, who resigned amid a corruption scandal a decade ago, is once again in the headlights of federal law enforcement officials. The case involves Lisa Wilson-Foley and her husband, Brian Foley, who pleaded guilty in federal court on March 31, to illegally paying Rowland $35,000 in campaign consulting fees.

In an indictment unsealed Thursday, the 56-year-old former Republican governor who lives in Middlebury, was named in a seven-count indictment charging him with offenses stemming from his efforts to conceal the extent of his involvement in two federal election campaigns.

The indictment charges Rowland with two counts of falsification of records in a federal investigation, a charge that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years on each count, one count of conspiracy, a charge that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years, two counts of causing false statements to be made to the FEC, a charge that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years on each count, and two counts of causing illegal campaign contributions, a charge that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of one year on each count.

The indictment alleges that in approximately October 2009, Rowland devised a scheme to work for the campaign of a candidate seeking election to the U.S. House of Representatives from Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District during the 2009 and 2010 election cycle, and to conceal from the Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) and the public the fact that he would be paid to perform that work.  To make the illegal arrangement appear legitimate, Rowland drafted a sham consulting contract pursuant to which he would purportedly perform work for a separate corporate entity, referred to in the indictment as the “Animal Center.” By proposing to run the campaign-related payments to Rowland through the Animal Center, Rowland sought to prevent actual campaign contributions and expenditures from being reported to the FEC and the public.

The indictment further alleges that during the 2011 and 2012 election cycle, Lisa Wilson-Foley was a candidate for election to the U.S. House of Representatives from Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District.  Wilson-Foley’s husband, Brian Foley, owns a Connecticut nursing home company and a number of other related companies, including a real estate company.  It is alleged that Rowland conspired with Wilson-Foley, Foley and others to conceal from the FEC and the public that Rowland was paid money in exchange for services he provided to Wilson-Foley’s campaign.

The indictment alleges that Rowland proposed to Wilson-Foley and Foley that he be hired to work on the campaign.  In order to retain Rowland's services for the campaign while reducing the risk that his paid campaign role would be disclosed to the public, Rowland, Wilson-Foley and Foley agreed that Rowland would be paid by Foley to work on the campaign.  In furtherance of the scheme, Rowland, Foley and others created and executed a fictitious contract outlining an agreement purportedly for consulting services between Rowland and the law offices of an attorney who worked for Foley’s nursing home company.  Foley made regular payments to Rowland for his work on behalf of Wilson-Foley’s campaign and routed those payments from his real estate company through the law offices of the attorney and on to Rowland.  Rowland provided nominal services to Foley’s nursing home company in order to create a “cover” that he was being paid for those nominal services when, in fact, he was being paid in exchange for his work on behalf of Wilson-Foley’s campaign.

It is alleged that between September 2011 and April 2012, Rowland was paid approximately $35,000 for services rendered to Wilson-Foley’s campaign.  The payments originated with Foley and constituted campaign contributions, but were not reported to the FEC in violation of federal campaign finance laws.

Rowland, who served as Connecticut's governor from 1995 to 2004, pleaded guilty to depriving the public of honest service. Rowland was sentenced on March 18, 2005, in New Haven, Connecticut, to one year and one day in prison, four months house arrest, three years probation and community service. On April 1, 2005, he entered Federal Correctional Institution, Loretto, PA. 

Rowland is expected to be arraigned at U.S. District Court in New Haven at 2:30 p.m. Friday, April 11. In the meantime, Rowland has been relieved of his duties as a radio talk show host on WTIC.
René Descartes April 13, 2014 at 05:20 PM
Poor Tony, The government MADE him a Felon, like the government MADE Al Capone a felon. I think he misses Spiro Agnew.
Pokeno Ridge April 14, 2014 at 12:23 AM
@Tabasco - Ted Nugent??? @René Descartes - Aren't you dead?
Tabasco April 14, 2014 at 03:16 AM
Nah. Turns out it's Pink Floyd's "The Wall".
WINEGUY51 April 16, 2014 at 11:56 AM
hey harry...your crooked "ex" the one you fall to your knees over..the one who's every word you suck up into your empty head..the ones who you base your lifestyle on...is heading back to jail...again!...a loser..just like you,harry!!
SILENT WOLF April 16, 2014 at 03:33 PM
Hypocritical, non constructive, name calling, it's going to be your downfalls.


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