Monday, June 21, 2004

Connecticut Governor John Rowland Resigns Amidst Federal and State Investigations and an Impeachment Inquiry in the Connecticut House

Less than a week after the Connecticut Supreme Court ordered Gov. Rowland to testify before the Connecticut House Impeachment Committee, his private attorney has declared that Rowland will announce his resignation tonight.

Rowland's tenure as governor has turned into a primer course on the effects of money in politics. The investigations into Rowland and his associates have got it all - state contracts, wealthy contributors, deregulation of a vital industry at the expense of the state and for the benefit of big companies and contributors, petty ethical violations, even gold. And of course, it wouldn't be a party without Ken Lay and Enron,who make an appearance to sign a couple contracts that end up costing the state of Connecticut over $200 million. Poof.

More to Come?

While many of the investigations into Rowland have focused on the ethical violations and quid pro quo corruption, the story that may have the largest impact is that of Enron, which spent huge sums of money all over the country to influence elections and policies. Rowland may end up being just one of the many examples of how Enron used big money to purchase policies and contracts favorable to its owners' interests.

Rowland's tenure as vice-chairman and then chairman of the Republican Governors Association (RGA) adds a level of complexity and intrigue to the investigations of big money and its influence on John Rowland's Administration. From December 1999 to October 2001, Enron gave over $1,000,000 to the RGA and Rowland combined.

Don't be surprised if other folks - governors, state legislators, congressmen, regulators - are suddenly fighting for their political lives as the investigations into Enron continue. The RGA gives out money all over the country. Chances are decent that Rowland wasn't the only guy to get a little help from his Enron friends. The AP is reporting today that federal prosecutors have stated that Ken Lay may be indicted by July 4. If that happens, and Lay decides to spill the beans about his deals with some of his old buddies, expect the trainwreck which is Enron to reach a state capitol near you.

*Keep an eye out this week for additional facts and analysis on Enron and Rowland from TheRestofUs.org.

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