Washington, DC — While a young Capitol Hill press secretary in the mid-eighties, my friends and I would often hang out at the House-side watering hole, Bullfeathers, and have a few brews with then-28 year old Congressman John Rowland between key votes and after the session had ended for the night.
Those were great days, and we’d also hang out with my former boss, Rep. Joe DioGuardi (R-NY), Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and a few other members just to shoot the breeze.
Rowland was a fun guy — and a good guy, and it’s sad to see him hauled off to jail for one year on corruption charges. He F’d up bigtime. The charges, especially, are dispiriting: a free hot tub from a state contractor and a few trips to Vegas; pretty low rent graft — more worthy of corruption at the state representative level.
"I let my pride get in my way," Rowland, now 47, said Friday before U.S. District Judge Peter C. Dorsey
sentenced him to a year in prison for selling access to his office for personal gain. Once Connecticut’s youngest governor and one of the Republican Party’s fastest-rising stars, Rowland told Dorsey that he lost sight of his ethical judgment and developed a "sense of entitlement and even arrogance."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nora Dannehy kicked Rowland in the teeth, saying, "He has corrupted the office of the governor as if he took a bag of cash in a dark alley. He was corrupt. It was a six-year conspiracy to deprive this state of honest services."
When Rowland gets out in one year’s time, I wish he and his family the best as they try to move on with their lives. It’s sad to see a guy you knew at one time turn out to be in this situation.