Former Gov. John G. Rowland is expected to be arraigned today at 2:30 p.m. in New Haven federal court after being indicted on seven charges late Thursday.
The federal indictment charges Rowland with two counts of falsification of records in a federal investigation, two counts of causing false statements to be made to the FEC, two counts of causing illegal campaign contributions, and one count of conspiracy.
Rowland, a Republican, served as governor from 1995 to 2004, when he stepped down due to an unrelated federal corruption investigation that eventually caused him to spend close to a year in jail.
In more recent years, Rowland has served as a talk-show host on a Hartford radio station. He also previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives and as a state representative from his native Waterbury.
The crimes of which he is charged could potentially send him to federal prison for decades.
Concealing involvement in campaign
The indictment, returned by a federal grand jury in New Haven, charges Rowland, 56, of Middlebury, with offenses stemming from his alleged efforts to conceal the extent of his involvement in two federal election campaigns.
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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.
‘A sham consulting contract’
To make the illegal arrangement appear legitimate, Rowland allegedly 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, federal officials said.
This candidate has been identified in media reports as Mark Greenberg, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for Congress in the Fifth District in 2010 and 2012. Greenberg turned down the offer from Rowland and is not expected to charged with any crime, according to media report.
Wilson-Foley candidacy in 2012
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 the 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.
‘Executed a fictitious contract’
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, federal officials said.
Foley allegedly 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.
Wilson-Foley and her husband, Foley, recently both pleaded guilty to conspiring to make illegal campaign contributions and can be expected to testify against Rowland if the former governor’s case goes to trial.
Creating a ‘cover’
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, according to the indictment.
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.
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.
— 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.
— two counts of causing illegal campaign contributions, a charge that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of one year on each count.
— one count of conspiracy, a charge that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.
Handling the investigation
This matter is being investigated by the U.S. Postal Investigation Service and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Liam Brennan and Christopher Mattei.
An indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.