It will not be a day for hot tubs, champagne and fancy cigars when former Governor John Rowland stands before U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton on January 7. She’s not fond of public corruption offenders.
Just ask former Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim and a whole bunch of others she’s put away for years at a time. Rowland will be sentenced for the second time by a federal judge in less than 10 years. This time he’s facing more time than the 10 months that the late Peter Dorsey sentenced him for using his position for public enrichment.
The Rowland case is not easy to understand. What did he do this time out of office after having his hand out the first time as governor? Rowland agreed to a sham political consulting contract, paid for by the business of the husband of Lisa Wilson-Foley, a candidate for Congress in 2012, in violation of federal law.
Under federal law if you provide political consulting advice it must be disclosed on a report, paid for by a campaign committee.
Why do it this way? Rowland didn’t want his name to appear on a campaign finance report. He feared public knowledge of his consulting services would smear his candidate.
So, instead of taking the heat for publicly disclosing that he dispensed consulting work for Foley’s campaign, the Foleys conspired with him to pay him out of one of hubby’s businesses. Wilson-Foley and her husband entered guilty pleas and cooperated with the government.
The first time Rowland entered a guilty plea in front of an accommodating judge. This time Rowland rolled the dice and went to trial. Now he faces Arterton.
The government is asking Arterton to imprison Rowland for four years. Rowland’s lawyer is begging for a fraction of that. The judge will factor in advisory federal sentencing guidelines in determining a sentence.
Even if Arterton splits the difference between what the government has requested and the leniency proposed by Rowland, he’s still looking at a couple of years.
All because Rowland loathed for his name to appear on a campaign finance report.