Former Gov. John G. Rowland’s campaign corruption case was transferred Friday to a federal court judge who has recently handed down lengthy prison terms in campaign corruption cases.
“I realize this sentence is one of particular shock given your career, but the message is that the cost of corruption ought to be too high,” Judge Janet Bond Arterton told a former correction officer last year as she sentenced him to two years in prison in another case.
The charges in that case stemmed from a campaign finance conspiracy involving former House Speaker Chris Donovan’s unsuccessful 2012 congressional campaign in the 5th District.
Rowland has been accused of similar charges over allegations he devised an illegal campaign finance scheme to secretly work for another candidate in that race, Lisa Wilson-Foley. His case had been before Judge Ellen Bree Burns. But the 90-year-old judge filed a transfer order Friday, reassigning the case “in the interest of justice.”
The former governor is facing seven federal charges relating to consulting work performed for Wilson-Foley. The work, which feds say was performed under a false contract, and Rowland’s $35,000 compensation weren’t reported to election regulators.
His lawyers have filed a motion to dismiss the charges alleging that none of Rowland’s consultant work violated the law. Prosecutors scoffed at the motion in a rebuttal filed earlier this week.
All further proceedings in the case will now be held before Arterton, who handed down prison sentences of at least 21 months to five men involved with the fundraising conspiracy last year. In the case of Donovan’s former campaign manager, Robert Braddock, Arterton presided over a trial before sentencing Braddock to 38 months in prison.
“Campaign finance regulations, difficult as they may be to understand, play a critical role as we grapple with how we regulate money in campaigns,” she said.
Donovan was never charged with any wrongdoing related to the conspiracy that occurred within his campaign.