Reports: Feds investigating Rowland ties to Wilson-Foley campaign

A federal grand jury is investigating the consulting and campaign activities of former Gov. John G. Rowland, who advised congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley, Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie reported Monday in his blog, Daily Ructions.

Mark Greenberg, another congressional candidate who says Rowland also approached him about a consulting contract in 2010, issued a statement Monday night saying he has been contacted by the grand jury as a “factual witness.”

Rowland and Wilson-Foley could not be reached for comment, but the candidate’s husband, Brian Foley, told the Register Citizen he also has been contacted by the grand jury and is cooperating.

Greenberg and Wilson-Foley are competing in a four-way primary for the Republican nomination in the 5th Congressional District, which Rowland represented from 1985 to 1991.

The Wilson-Foley campaign has acknowledged that the candidate’s husband paid Rowland $30,000 as a consultant to his health-care company while Rowland was advising Wilson-Foley as a volunteer and touting her candidacy on his radio show on WTIC-AM.

Greenberg told The Mirror in April that he had documentation of an odd political consulting arrangement Rowland proposed in 2010, when Greenberg first sought the 5th District seat.

According to Greenberg, Rowland proposed advising his campaign, but only if his fee was concealed by coming from Greenberg’s nonprofit animal-welfare foundation. Greenberg says he declined.

An associate of Greenberg’s says the fee Rowland proposed was “exhorbitant,” far in exces of the $30,000 he collected from Foley.

His campaign issued a statement Monday night: “The Greenberg campaign confirmed that Mark was contacted as a ‘factual witness’ and that he provided the requested information. The campaign also confirmed that Mark Greenberg is not in any way a target of the investigation.”

Greenberg said he possessed an exchange of emails with Rowland, which he had declined to make public in April. A source close to Greenberg said he received a federal subpoena more than a month ago.

Rowland resigned as governor in 2004 while facing an impeachment inquiry. He later pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges and was sentenced to a year in prison.

Since September 2010, Rowland has been on the air on WTIC with a daily call-in show in drive-time, from 3 to 6 p.m.

The investigation means that 5th District campaigns in each party are now factors in federal grand jury investigations.

The FBI has arrested the former campaign finance director of House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan, D-Meriden, accusing him of conspiring to accept illegal campaign contributions. Donovan has not been implicated.