Rowland released from prison
Freed Friday from halfway house
John G. Rowland is a free man again after serving his second prison sentence.
The disgraced former governor — once a young, rising star among Connecticut Republicans — was released from federal custody on Friday, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website. Federal prison officials had said earlier that Sunday was Rowland’s anticipated release date. He had been staying at a halfway house in his hometown of Waterbury since being discharged from a federal prison camp in January.
Rowland, who turned 61 the day before his release, was convicted in 2014 of election fraud and obstruction of justice for hiding his political consulting roles in two campaigns. He began serving a 30month sentence in fall 2016, at minimum security prison camp in Pennsylvania.
It was his second stay in federal prison. Rowland’s 2004 federal corruption conviction also led to his incarceration, and to the state’s landmark public campaign financing program.
His release Friday came without an announcement or explanation from the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Prison officials have also refused to explain why Rowland was being released before serving his full 30 months, but inmates can get time off their sentences for good conduct and participating in a drug treatment program.
Rowland could not be reached for comment Saturday. Calls made to a phone number listed for his wife, Patty Rowland, went unanswered, and John Rowland did not respond to an email request for comment.
His sentence was the result of a jury trial in 2014 that yielded seven guilty verdicts for his behind-the-scenes role in the losing Republican congressional campaign of Lisa Wilson-Foley, whose husband, Brian Foley, paid Rowland $35,000 in consulting fees.
Rowland had also served as a congressman, and had been an afternoon drive-time personality for the conservative WTIC-AM radio station in Farmington. In July 2004, he resigned less than halfway through his third term as governor rather than testify before a special House Committee of Inquiry, after a ruling by the state Supreme Court. Rowland pleaded guilty in December 2004 as part of a pay-to-play scheme that included $90,000 in luxury flights from Key Air of Oxford to Las Vegas and Florida. He served 10 months in federal prison and several months of house arrest in that case.
M. Jodi Rell, Rowland’s lieutenant governor, succeeded Rowland and led state lawmakers to ratify the state’s 2005 campaign-finance reforms.