Skip to main content
Press Release

Former Governor Convicted Of Illegal Activity In Two Congressional Campaigns

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut

A federal jury in New Haven has found former governor JOHN G. ROWLAND guilty of all seven counts of an indictment related to his efforts to conceal the extent of his involvement in two federal election campaigns.  The trial began on September 3 and the jury returned its verdict this afternoon.  ROWLAND, 57, of Middlebury, served as governor of Connecticut from 1995 to 2004, and in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1985 to 1991.

“Americans will not tolerate corrupt conduct in the electoral process,” stated First Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Gustafson.  “Lies and deception can never be accepted as politics as usual in Connecticut.  All voters have a right to know the truth when they cast their ballots.  I want to acknowledge the diligent work of the U.S. Postal Inspectors, who expertly investigated this scheme, and our trial team, who did an exemplary job in prosecuting this case. Together, these dedicated public servants have stood up for transparency, a vital piece of our electoral process.”

“The verdict in this case should give the public a sense that justice does prevail,” stated Shelly A. Binkowski, Inspector in Charge for the Boston Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.  “Public officials are not immune from the law.  The two-year commitment by Postal Inspectors conducting this investigation was an enormous undertaking and truly a team effort with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  Postal Inspectors have a long history of protecting the public from complex fraud schemes.  We have the skills and expertise to ensure that anyone who commits a crime with this level of dishonesty and deceit be prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

According to evidence introduced during the trial, 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 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 owned by the candidate.

During the 2011 and 2012 election cycle, another candidate, Lisa Wilson-Foley, was seeking 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.  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.

As part of the scheme, 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.  ROWLAND, Foley and others then 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.  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.

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 jury found ROWLAND guilty of 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.

ROWLAND is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton on December 12, 2014.

In December 2004, ROWLAND pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services mail fraud and tax fraud.  On March 18, 2005, he was sentenced to 12 months and one day of imprisonment and four months of home confinement.  He was also ordered to perform 300 hours of community service.

On March 31, 2014, Foley and Wilson-Foley each pleaded guilty to conspiring to make illegal campaign contributions.  They await sentencing.

This matter is being investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Liam Brennan and Christopher Mattei.


Tom Carson
(203) 821-3722

Updated March 18, 2015