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Press Release

Former Governor Sentenced To 30 Months In Prison For Illegal Activity In Two Congressional Campaigns

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

Former governor JOHN G. ROWLAND was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to 30 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for attempting to conceal the extent of his involvement in two federal election campaigns.  ROWLAND also was ordered to pay a $35,000 fine.  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.

“It is disheartening that an individual who once held two of our country’s highest elected offices, and who also served time in prison for a previous federal conviction, chose to deceive voters and violate laws that were established to ensure fair and open elections,” stated First Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Gustafson.  “Hopefully, today’s sentence will deter both this defendant from future criminal behavior and all who may consider ignoring campaign financing laws.  I want to thank the U.S. Postal Inspectors who diligently investigated this scheme, as well as our trial team who have expertly and fairly prosecuted this case.”

“Postal Inspectors dedicated two years to this complex fraud investigation” stated Shelly A. Binkowski, Inspector in Charge for the Boston Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.  “John Rowland’s conviction and today’s sentence validate that the undertaking was well worth the effort.  Those who plot in secret to violate the public trust are not immune to the law and, as demonstrated in this case, will be prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent for unscrupulous behavior.”

According to the evidence introduced during his 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.
On September 19, 2014, ROWLAND was found guilty of two counts of falsification of records in a federal investigation, one count of conspiracy, two counts of causing false statements to be made to the FEC, and two counts of causing illegal campaign contributions.

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.

On March 31, 2014, Foley and Wilson-Foley each pleaded guilty to conspiring to make illegal campaign contributions.  On January 9, 2015, Foley, who received credit for cooperating with the investigation, was sentenced to three months in community confinement (halfway house).  Wilson-Foley awaits sentencing.

This matter was 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