Who says bipartisanship is dead?

Chris Healy, a former Republican state chairman who was a top strategist for the 2012 congressional campaign of Lisa Wilson-Foley, has retained a criminal defense lawyer who knows politics: John F. Droney Jr., a former Democratic state chairman.

Healy hired Droney after Wilson-Foley and her husband, Brian Foley, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to conceal $35,000 in payments made to former Gov. John G. Rowland for his help during the campaign. Healy said Tuesday night he was unaware of the arrangement.

In an email quoted in plea documents made public Monday, a campaign official who appears to be Healy — the person is identified as “Political Advisor 1” — tells Rowland that an acquaintance told him he had heard that Rowland was on the campaign payroll:

“At a party last night, [a political associate] said there was talk about your role in [WILSON-FOLEY’s] campaign being subsidized by [FOLEY] and [WILSON-FOLEY] enterprises. I said it was news to me as well as your role. Not sure [political associate] believed me, but I gave it a shot. I have not completely reviewed Lisa’s response if asked, but we should have something[.]”

Rowland’s response: “interesting, where do you think he got info?”

Healy did not rule out Monday night that he may have been quoted in the plea document, but he declined further comment Tuesday, referring questions to Droney.

“Mr. Healy has not been and should not be discussing this because it is a grand jury matter,” Droney said. “Based on my preliminary review of this case and my knowledge of Mr. Healy, I don’t believe he did anything wrong.”

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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