NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Former Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland, a rising Republican star before he resigned 10 years ago in a corruption scandal that sent him to prison, was indicted Thursday on charges he tried to hide his role in two congressional campaigns.
Charges were announced by federal prosecutors.
Former Republican congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley and her husband, Brian Foley, pleaded guilty March 31 to a scheme to create a phony contract that hid the consulting role prosecutors say Rowland played in her campaign. Authorities say Rowland provided nominal services to Foley’s nursing home company to create a cover that he was being paid for those services instead of work for Wilson-Foley’s campaign.
Rowland was released from prison in 2006 after serving 10 months on a corruption-related charge.
A message left for Rowland’s attorney wasn’t immediately returned.
Authorities allege that as part of the scheme, Rowland proposed that he be hired to work on the political campaign. Wilson-Foley wanted Rowland to work on her 2012 primary campaign but believed that because he had been convicted of a felony, disclosure of his paid role in the campaign would result in substantial negative publicity for her candidacy, prosecutors said.
In one email, authorities say, Rowland wrote that “I want to stay under the radar as much as possible” and that “after Clark gets out of the race it can be different.”
Mike Clark, a former FBI agent, was a candidate in the Republican primary and filed a federal elections complaint over the payments made to Rowland. Clark also had been the agent who investigated the earlier case that ultimately sent Rowland to prison.
Rowland was paid about $35,000 for services to the campaign, authorities said. The payments originated with Foley and constituted campaign contributions but were not reported to the Federal Election Commission, in violation of federal campaign finance laws, prosecutors said
Rowland was elected governor three times and was a rising star in the GOP, serving as chairman of the national Republican Governors Association. He was a friend of former President George H. W. Bush and had been mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate or cabinet member.
After he was released from prison, Rowland promised “to be a better person” and landed a job as an economic development coordinator. He also became a popular AM radio commentator.
Wilson-Foley, who lost the Republican primary, and her husband each face up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 at sentencing.