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A federal criminal grand jury is investigating former Gov. John Rowland’s connections to a political campaign and his simultaneous, $30,000 “consulting” work for the candidate’s husband, according to Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie. The report was posted Monday on Rennie’s blog, Daily Ructions. Rowland was on the air for his talk radio air shift Monday (3pm to 6pm) but failed to address the report. Troublingly, WTIC news was silent on it as well (see story below). Rowland awkwardly talked about the presidential race.
It’s widely known that the Rowland – Lisa Wilson-Foley – Brian Foley arrangement is the subject of at least two complaints to the Federal Elections Commission; one by now-former candidate Mike Clark and one by former candidate for Congress Ken Kreyeske. The stakes in a federal criminal grand jury investigation are much higher. The (Torrington) Register Citizen’s Fifth District blog quotes Clark as basically saying it’s a whole new ballgame.
Of course, all of this leads to speculation of a bigger picture. The Shad’s current speculation is to question whether the whole Donovan campaign finance debacle is fruit from a grand jury looking into Rowland’s practices. It wouldn’t be the first time charges in one case come from what the feds find when looking for something else. Let’s stipulate right here that the feds won’t confirm or deny even the existence of a criminal grand jury, let alone what it might be investigating.
The Donovan scandal seemed to have come out of nowhere. The finance chairman of Donovan’s congressional campaign was arrested and three co-conspirators revealed after the FBI went in undercover, secured the help of one of the co-conspirators and recorded phone conversations. They also had covert agents in the room for the fifth district nominating convention back on May 14th (held at the Rotella Interdistrict Magnet School in…wait for it…Waterbury!). The alleged campaign contribution fraud in the Donovan case never did seem to rise to this level of FBI involvement or the expense incurred by the bureau. Everyone was thinking, “There has to be more.” Maybe we just found out what the “more” is.