HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Former Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland should spend more than three years in prison for scheming to hide payment for work on congressional political campaigns, federal prosecutors say, arguing the twice-convicted felon has demonstrated a "troubling disrespect for the law."
Rowland, who resigned as governor in 2004 over another corruption scandal, was convicted in September on charges that he maneuvered to insert himself into two separate campaigns and conceal the work, which he knew would bring unwelcome publicity to the candidates. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 7.
In a memo filed late Thursday, prosecutors said Rowland should spend between 37 and 46 months in prison, saying Rowland displayed "great political talent alongside a troubling disrespect for the law."
"He has repeatedly shown a willingness to manipulate the political process for his own personal benefit, undermining the fragile trust that binds citizens to each other and to their elected representatives," prosecutors wrote.
Attorneys for the former three-time Republican governor argued in their own memo that he should spend no more than 18 months in prison because, in light of his convictions, it is unlikely he will return to politics and commit new crimes.
"Mr. Rowland has always been drawn to politics, but understands that chapter of his life is over. Mr. Rowland has no intention to return to politics in any form in the future. And, as a practical matter, any return would be impossible now," they wrote.
Rowland, 57, served 10 months in prison for taking illegal gifts while in office after resigning.
In September, he was convicted of conspiracy and two counts each of falsifying records in a federal investigation, causing false statements to be made to the Federal Election Commission and causing illegal campaign contributions.
The government's case centered on a contract between Rowland and a nursing home chain owned by the husband of 2012 5th District congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley. Rowland's attorneys argued he volunteered for the campaign while receiving $35,000 to consult for her husband's company, but prosecutors successfully argued that the money was an illegal payment for campaign services.
Prosecutors also showed Rowland had tried to strike a similar deal with another candidate, Mark Greenberg, during the 2010 election cycle.
Lisa Wilson-Foley and her husband each pleaded guilty in the spring to a misdemeanor of conspiring to make an illegal campaign donation in the form of the $35,000 in payments to Rowland. They also are scheduled to be sentenced in January.
Rowland was elected to the U.S. House three times and, as governor, served as chairman of the Republican Governors Association. He had been mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate or Cabinet member before he was impeached and resigned.
He was released from prison in 2006 and had begun rebuilding his life, landing a job as in economic development and becoming a radio show host, before finding himself again in trouble with federal law enforcement.