Lisa Wilson-Foley Calls Rowland Inquiry \”A Distraction;\” Says She\’s Staying Focused On The Issues

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Republican Congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley said this morning that she is staying on message, despite a federal criminal investigation into former Gov. John G. Rowland\’s consulting work for the health care company owned by her husband, Brian Foley.
 
\”We\’re campaigning as usual,\’\’ Wilson-Foley said. \”I\’ve been hitting a lot of doors.\”
 
\”Is this a distraction? Sure,\’\’ she said. \”But I believe the truth and the facts are on our side. Our campaign is not involved in this investigation. We are moving forward.\”
 
Wilson-Foley is one of four Republicans and three Democrats seeking the open 5th Congressional district seat, which is currently held by Democrat Chris Murphy. Murphy, who is not seeking reelection, is running for the U.S. Senate.
 
A grand jury in New Haven has been gathering information about possible connections \”between Rowland\’s ostensible business and political pursuits,\’\’ according to Kevin Rennie, who broke the story yesterday on his blog, Daily Ructions. Rowland was paid $5,000 a month as a consultant to Apple Rehab while he also was working as a volunteer for Wilson-Foley\’s campaign. Rowland, now an afternoon radio talk-show host on WTIC-AM, has had previous experience with a U.S. grand jury: He resigned as governor in mid-2004, then pleaded guilty to corruption and spent 10 months in prison as the result of a federal grand jury probe. The inquiry into Rowland\’s role isn\’t the only investigation pending in the 5th District.
 
Late last month, the U.S. attorney\’s office and the FBI arrested Robert Braddock Jr., campaign finance director for Democrat Chris Donovan, the convention-endorsed candidate in the party primary. Donovan quickly fired his campaign manager and another staffer.

Wilson-Foley said most of the voters she\’s talked to aren\’t interested in talking about investigations of either Democrats or Republican, or the details of a complaint to the Federal Election Commission by one of her now former Republican opponents in this race, Mike Clark. The complaint alleges two potential violations of campaign finance laws. \”First, there may have been a violation by the Wilson-Foley campaign in failing to report as contributions…the payments made by Apple Rehab to John Rowland for services that may have benefited the campaign,\’\’ the complaint states.

 Under federal election laws, anything of value given to influence a campaign is considered a contribution. Also any payments by Apple Rehab to Rowland for campaign-related activities — lobbying delegates to the state Republican convention, for example — would constitute a violation of election law.

 The complaint notes that Rowland is not listed as an employee, consultant or vendor in any of Wilson-Foley\’s campaign finance filings.

Wilson-Foley said voters have other issues on their minds.

\”People don\’t care about the nitty-gritty of politics,\’\’ she said. \”They care that their kids came home from college and can\’t get jobs…I am not hearing about the inside scoop…[with] Donovan\’s campaign or anything with this investigation. My opponents will use it as a distraction but I\’m moving forward with my campaign.\’\’
 
Professor Gary Rose, chairman of the department of government and politics at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, disagrees. \”I think it matters a lot, irrespective of any arrest or indictment or anything, the fact that the word that there is an investigation and that Rowland is involved, I think, casts a pretty dark cloud over her campaign,” he said.
 
\”Since most voters in the fifth district don\’t know much about her to begin with, what they do know about her is pretty negative and controversial,” Rose said.
 
Rose said he thinks the Republicans in the state will step up pressure on Wilson-Foley to drop out in an effort to unite the party behind state Sen. Andrew Roraback — even though Wilson-Foley had a decent showing at the convention.
 
\”The Republicans really do feel they have a rich opportunity to take back this district and the last thing they need is a controversy of their own,” he said.
 
On Monday, Roraback, another 5th District candidate, called on Wilson-Foley to \”answer any and all questions\” in connection with Rowland\’s role.
 
\”I\’m not hiding,\’\’ Wilson-Foley said. She said she attended several events Monday, including a fundraiser for the Petit Family Foundation and a campaign meet and greet at Apricots restaurant in Farmington.
 
But she also suggested her opponents are highlighting the issue to score political points. In addition to Roraback, Republicans Justin Bernier and Mark Greenberg are also seeking the seat. Greenberg has said that Rowland approached him in the previous 5th District campaign – in which Greenberg unsuccessfully sought the GOP\’s 2010 nomination – and told Greenberg that he would help him if he could be paid as a consultant to Greenberg\’s nonprofit animal-rescue organization, the Simon Foundation.
 
Greenberg confirmed Monday afternoon that federal authorities had requested information and that he had provided it, said his campaign spokesman, Chris Cooper. Cooper also said Greenberg is \”not in any way a target of the investigation.\”
 
Asked if she regrets using Rowland as a campaign volunteer, Wilson-Foley said no. \”Hindsight is 20/20, but I\’m not looking back on this,\’\’ she said.
 
\”I think John Rowland is a wonderful man,\’\’ she said.  \”I believe in second chances. Everyone has his own cross to bear, but I\’m not going to speak about whether he has a role\” to play in Connecticut politics.
   
Courant Staff Writer Wes Duplantier contributed to this report.
 
 
 
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45 thoughts on “Lisa Wilson-Foley Calls Rowland Inquiry \”A Distraction;\” Says She\’s Staying Focused On The Issues

  1. Jack

    Distraction?

    Yeah, that’s a ‘spin’ if we ever heard one…

    Voters are now starting to realize that Lisa Wilson Foley is so damaged by this that she can never win a general election in November.

  2. John D

    Get a life Jack.Your reply is typical of a left wing loser as are most in this Democratic controlled state.Just keep blindly following along.

    1. Centrist

      Unless he said anything positive about a Democratic candidate in his post John, you’re simply trying to be a snarky, know-it-all who assumes anyone critical of a Republican in a Democrat. Wilson-Foley doesn’t have much of a chance to win the primary and would be creamed in the general. This district is Roraback’s to lose. How’s that for a dose of political reality from an independent (non-‘libbie/teapartier’) voter?

    2. Farfel

      ‘Smatter, Jack, cable down at your house and you jones-ing for your Fox News brain feed?

    3. Dropkick

      Talk about blind!

      Try looking with your own eyes. She was willing to walk on the edge with Rowland to arm-twist her way to a convention victory (which didn’t happen).

      And do you really want to blow your credibility to defend someone who (together with her husband) gave more than 80% of their pre-2010 Federal campaign donations to DEMOCRATS? She is the Trojan Horse of this campaign, the gift that needs to be brought back to Customer Service.

  3. Joe Grieco

    We are talking about John Rowland, here. The man has never done something for anybody without lining his pockets. I would live to see the documentation of what he did to earn 5K a month as a “consultant”.

  4. baborn3

    I’m sure that the Unions have their grunbby little finger prints on this somewhere, they do have this un-natural, un-ending hate for Rowland.
    Courant, how about giving us a complete story not a hack job?!

    1. intpseeker

      The complete story is that John Rowland hosed the state and every person in it ‘back in the day’, and only got a year at the country club…and he continues to hose us, as he is getting a pension for his criminal actions…or is that you, John…I mean baborn3

    2. Lauren

      Great point! The unions will pay big bucks to get any dirt on Rowland. The real story will come out!

  5. John D

    And just what the hell is awaiting moderation Hartford Courant ? To decide if my comment meets the same unethical standards as yours ?

    1. Centrist

      Grow up John. It’s a comment board for an off-shoot blog for a small-state newspaper. Nobody wants your whining, they want the story to come to completion and the facts to come to light.

  6. Brad Ford

    As a Republican voter in the 5th District, I was looking forward to the chance to replace Murphy with a good, Republican candidate.

    Simply put, it is my worst nightmare to lose a chance to win the seat b/c we get stuck with candidate with ties to Rowland.

    Even if Donovan didn’t know about the crimes, he proved that he couldn’t manage a relatively small campaign staff. Thus, he is unfit to help run our country.

    With Wilson-Foley, we have a candidate who lacked enough judgment to avoid getting into bed with Rowland. By doing show, she proved that she lacks the judgment to represent us in Congress.

    From what I can tell (I haven’t made up my mind yet), our other three candidates would be fine representatives in Congress and would offer a good chance of capturing the seats.

    Simply put, Wilson-Foley must quit the race now.

    1. Jane

      “As a Republican voter in the 5th District” …Now that is a lonely, sad, Dark place.

    2. Lauren

      That is what is wrong with our society. People deserve a second chance but narrow minded people won’t allow them to become productive members of our society. Wilson Foley never hid having Rowland volunteer on her campaign. He attended events with and for her. Brian Foley never hid having Rowland work for him. Rowland interacted with many staff and vendors for Apple in his capacity.

      The real problem here is the cheater, Mike Clark. He went off half cocked with no facts and filed a complaint with the FEC. Clark will be the one to end with egg on his face!

  7. John S

    I think John Rowland and Ernie Newton should have there own radio show titled “Former Felons” As thier lead off interview, Lisa Wilson Foley and Chris Donovan could be guest hosts known as “Futrure Felons”.

  8. sammythesaver

    I’m an independent and think about it would you want foley and roland running wilson-foley if she did win? What is even more strange is foley giving johnny some money???Weren’t these 2 guys buddies back in the rowland years???I think so maybee some type of kickback for state old people contracts in the day..just a thought…

  9. Deb C.

    Right on, Brad & John S. It is such a disappointment being Republican in CT – would be nice to have candidates to be proud of, rather than ones tainted by scandal – once a crook…

  10. Bill Noble

    If I hire Johnny the Fel to be my consultant, can I get him and WTIC to play my records and promote me ?????

  11. Lynne

    Even after a couple of years with Rowland on the WTIC airwaves, I STILL find it incredulous that the powers that be at WTIC continue to let a covicted felon who almost single-handedly gave the state of CT the national moniker “Corrupticut” spew his laughable commentaries on “ethical” poltical behavior for three hours each weekday on the radio. This guy never met a paycheck he didn’t like – ethics be damned! Everything this coniving crook has touched since 2004 has been of questionable ethics, and we know he was tainted long before he pleaded guilty to obvious improper behavior and was forced to resign the governorship in disgrace.

    Lisa Wilson Foley is TOAST! The best thing she could do for the Republican party would be to bow out NOW, before the real sordid truth is revealed and she is forced out of the race in more embarassing public disgrace than she would be were she to bow out today. Rowland is a joke on so many levels. For her to ignore the obvious is to eliminate any and all chances she may have running for public office in the future.

  12. Jane

    Bottom Line..this shows her lack of Judgement that she could not see from 100 miles away that this would be perceived as Fraudulent whether it is or isn’t. She is a lightweight who is Not up to the position.

  13. grace billings

    Interesting how the people who complain the most about what somebody else is doing turn out to be the biggest perpetrators. The most homophobic people often turn out to be closeted gays, those overly concerned with prosecuting prostitutes often are their biggest customers, and those who claim to be fighting against abuses in government are far more guilty than the working people they claim they are protecting us against.

  14. jim

    If Foley should resign then why shouldn’t Donovan resign? How does a campaign raise TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS with out the candidate not knowing who donated the money? It just not possible if the peerson is paying attention to his/her campaign. I think he is a crook and shoud be the one droppingout not Foley

    1. Lauren

      Then Greenberg should resign for not reporting an alleged Federal crime in 2010 when his ficticious email from Rowland was supposedly sent. Those who wrongly accuse other candidates should resign too.

      1. Really?

        Greenberg? He is the only on who did the right thing and told Roland to pound sand!! As Brian Foley said “John and I are good friends” Why would he pay him through his attorney, a 3rd party? Because you’re trying to hide something. I guess having integrity is a “distraction”.

      2. Dropkick

        Ah, another member of the coveted LWF fan club…up is down, right is wrong, LWF is pure as the driven snow and Clark & Greenberg are dirty.

        Read “Rules for Radicals” lately, have you?

  15. Catspaw

    “Since most voters in the fifth district don’t know much about her to begin with, what they do know about her is pretty negative and controversial,” Rose said.

    What voters in Connecticut know, where there’s a trough, there’s John Rowland.

    Rowland’s shadow passes over Wilson-Foley now, more importantly, Wilson-Foley may well find an indictment in the offing.

    Problem? Not much of a choice for Representative.

    The voters know the stench of corruption around Rowland. The old saying about sunlight being a great disinfectant seems to make Rowland the anti-sunlight.

    Wilson-Foley may have lofty goals but the taint of the Rowland is a disqualifying fault. Why would they throw the campaign away over Rowland?

  16. CTReality

    “Her rehabilitation company continues to stress research and education and is one of only seven in the country to offer a Geriatric Residency Program for physical therapists.” This is copied straight from her website. She also claims to have founded the company. Just whose company is Apple? Now that there is a federal investigation, it’s becoming “her husband’s” company.

  17. samuel orwell black

    When you have convicted criminals as partners then you might call yourself dishonest. If you allow convicted criminals to press your cause then you might as well admit you do not have a legitimate claim to what you claim. Using a convicted criminal to support your cause stinks to high heaven and tells the public (and you) where your loyalty and ethics are. Tainted politicians have no place in politics. Rowland should be (and is) a curse on this state. But this just shows us all what Lisa and her political plans are. No morals and no ethics.

  18. snafubar

    CT Democrat party gets busted for big-time corruption and they have to drag out Rowland as a diversion to their own misdeeds.

    What a bunch of hypocrites.

    1. JaneW

      Amazing the power the Dems have to Force Rowland into a contract with Apple!…Just Amazing Power….

  19. Vic

    I was a Wilson-Foley supporter and still would prefer her to the union hack, Donovan. For the Republicans to win, they have to get behind one candidate, either Greenburg or Roraback. She should pull out immediately – the Rowland consulting deal was a complete sham. Roraback should not be so wishy-washy and take some stronger stands. The race is his to lose.

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