There are many charming absurdities contained in the documents released Monday by the Department of Justice. The basics: Lisa Wilson-Foley, a candidate for Congress in 2012, has admitted that she and her husband Brian entered into a criminal conspiracy to conceal campaign contributions from the federal government. Specifically, Brian Foley arranged to pay former governor John Rowland to be a consultant for his wife’s campaign from the accounts of his nursing home company. To further conceal the payments, they were routed through Foley’s attorney. The case documents contain some amazing stuff.
Advanced Lying. The documents allege that Rowland lied even to the (Wilson)-Foleys. He told them he had been approached about working for one of her opponents (certainly Mark Greenberg) and that he preferred to work for them…if something could be worked out. This was a lie. In fact, Greenberg says he was approached by Rowland during the previous election cycle about a similar concealed payment scheme and that he rebuffed Rowland.
Least Popular Dr.Seuss Book: Somebody referred to as “Political Advisor 1” [I think I know who this is and I hope I’m wrong] wrote to Rowland, asking if there was anything to refute Greenberg’s claims. “I need it to start to f*ck this smuck [sic].”
Dumb Piled On Top of Dumb. For about five weeks in late 2011, the participants in the criminal conspiracy were planning to run a campaign ad for Wilson-Foley paid for by Foley’s nursing home company. Think about that. They were already using the nursing home company as a way to make hidden payments to Rowland. But for five weeks, they thought about calling attention to that by running commercials paid for by the company. Eventually, they concluded it might draw unwanted attention and criticism. You think?
Saul Goodman Award. According to the feds: One of Foley’s lawyers (who will be very lucky if he does not face disbarment for this) came up with the idea that the contract should be between his law firm and Rowland to avoid “link to Lisa’s campaign.” .The lawyer at one point proposes contract language averring that Rowland is not doing congressional campaign work. Later, according to the document, Foley emails the lawyer insisting that the contract contain that language — that no work is being done for his wife’s campaign. The lawyer eventually leaves it out. Foley asks why. Lawyer: “I left it out because it (in my opinion) draws attention to it. Also since the contract is with my firm I am not concerned it will ever be discovered.” Well! That would be the worst prediction ever if it were not for:
Worst Prediction Ever: “I think this arrangement is going to work out better than either one of us had anticipated.” John Rowland writes in email to Foley.
How Is It Going To Work Out? Don’t know. The plea documents point to substantially reduced penalties for the Wilson-Foleys. They could see their offense levels reduced by three levels. Two at least. I’m not well versed enough to know what that could mean, but I’m guessing it could mean no prison time for either of them. With one big prior on his record, it seems unlikely that Rowland will be treated quite so charitably. He will try to work out a bargain, but it’s hard to believe he could get one that didn’t carry six months of real time.
What’s That Smell?