CT-N State Civics Toolbox

The Road to Impeachment





1981 – John Rowland is first elected to the Connecticut Legislature at the age of 23.


1985 – John Rowland becomes a State Representative to the United States Congress.


January, 1995 – John Rowland is sworn in as Connecticut’s governor becoming, at 37, the youngest in Connecticut history.


1997 –Governor Rowland purchases a Cottage in Litchfield on Bantam Lake. Improvements to the cottage begin.


June, 2003 –Governor Rowland pays approximately $9,000 to settle an Ethics Commission complaint of vacations at a developer’s home.  The developer had received state contracts.


November 25, 2003 – The Hartford Courant runs a story questioning the cost of renovations to Governor Rowland’s cottage.


December 2, 2003 –At a press conference in Waterbury, Governor Rowland claims that he paid for improvements to his cottage.


December 12, 2003 –Governor Rowland admits that friends, political supporters and some state contractors helped him to pay for improvements to his cottage.


December 17, 2004 –Governor Rowland asks for forgiveness in a speech at a Middletown chamber of commerce meeting. Patricia Rowland reads a controversial rewriting of ‘twas the Night Before Christmas criticizing the Hartford Courant.


January 6, 2004 –A Federal Subpoena is issued to Rowland for documents related to tax returns, gifts, personal investments, and improvements to his Litchfield cottage.


January 6, 2004 -Legislative Leadership meets with Governor Rowland. The leaders of each party hold a brief press conference following the meetings.


January 7, 2004 –Governor Rowland Addresses the state from the Capitol Office and admits to the public that he engaged in unethical behavior.


January 6, 2004 – Governor Rowland receives a subpoena for documents related to the Litchfield cottage.


January 9, 2004 –Governor Rowland becomes the subject of a federal probe rather than just a witness.


January 13, 2004 –House Speaker Moira Lyons announces plans to form a committee to investigate whether or not Governor Rowland should be impeached.


January 15, 2004 –The Governor’s Office files an objection to a draft opinion issued by the Ethics Commission (Draft Opinion RAO 3472). The opinion was requested by House Majority Leader Jim Amann and written by the Commission’s Executive Director and General Counsel, Alan Plofsky. It contained advice concerning the application Of Connecticut General Statute §1-84(m)(1) and related gift provisions of the Code of Ethics for Public Officials.


January 16, 2004 –At the Ethics Commission Monthly Meeting, grounds for the Governor’s objection are heard and the matter is tabled to next month, giving Commissioners time to review the objection that had been filed the night before. Rowland’s attorneys request that Commission members not engage in public comment.


January 26, 2004 – Unanimous vote by the Connecticut House of Representatives in Special Session creates a committee to investigate whether or not Governor Rowland should be impeached.


January 28, 2004 – Federal investigators issue a wide-ranging subpoena for state documents related to a friend of Governor Rowland’s, Robert Matthews, who was the recipient of millions in state-backed loans.


January 30, 2004 – First meeting of the Select Committee of Inquiry.


February 3, 2004 – Federal subpoena issued for documents related to work on the Governor’s cottage.


February 13, 2004 –At the Ethics Commission Monthly Meeting, Draft Opinion RAO 3472 is reviewed. The Governor’s attorneys ask that the opinion not be released to the public. The Commission decides to issue a slightly revised opinion. (See document: revised Advisory Opinion No. 2004-2)


February 18, 2004 – Governor’s office announces federal subpoena for documents related to Enron.


February 19, 2004 – A meeting of the Select Committee of Inquiry is held in executive session to discuss procedural and issues of scope.


March 16, 2004 –A Freedom of Information Commission Hearing of: The Day, The CT Times, the CT Post and  The Associate Press v. the Select Committee of Inquiry. Several reporters argue that closed proceedings of the Select Committee on February 19 in which scope and procedures were discussed should have been held in public. Counsel for the House of Representatives argues that the issues discussed fall under attorney-client privilege.


March 17, 2004 – Antiques dealer agrees to cooperate with Federal Investigators regarding his purchase of Governor Rowland’s Washington D.C. condo at an inflated price.


April 19, 2004 –A Freedom of Information Commission Hearing of: Office of the Governor v. Select Committee of Inquiry. The Governor’s office argues over the legitimacy of Select Committee depositions being taken in closed session. The Governor’s office wants access to documents related to the depositions. The Governor’s office argues they need access to the documents in order to make their case, present evidence and cross examine witnesses. A preliminary ruling favors the Governor’s office, but the issue still needs to go before the full commission for review.


April 20, 2004 –A Freedom of Information Commission Meeting is held at which attorneys argue the hearing officer’s reports from the previous day. The Governor’s Office is awarded their request and gains access to the deposition documents.


May 27, 2004 – Governor Rowland sues the Select Committee of Inquiry over a subpoena calling for his testimony before the Committee.


June 7, 2004 – Superior Court Judge upholds Select Committee of Inquiry’s subpoena ordering Governor Rowland to testify.  Rowland’s’ attorneys plan to appeal to the State Supreme Court.


June 8, 2004 –Select Committee of Inquiry Evidentiary Hearing, Day 1. Special Counsel for the Committee,  Steven Reich, discusses how evidence will be presented, how the investigation was conducted, what issues were pursued and which were dropped, and offers a Constitutional framework for how Committee members can consider the evidence.


June 10, 2004 –CT State Supreme Court SC 17211: Officer of the Governor v. the Select Committee of Inquiry - Scheduling Hearing. Attorneys from both sides discuss an appropriate schedule for hearing oral arguments in order for the Court’s decision to be relevant (-before the Select Committee of Inquiry finishes its work).


June 18, 2004 –CT State Supreme Court SC 17211: Officer of the Governor v. the Select Committee of Inquiry - Oral Argument. The Court is asked to decide if the Subpoena issued by the Select Committee of Inquiry for the Governor to testify before the committee should be upheld. The Court issues a per curiam ruling later in the day denying the Governor’s attempt to quash the subpoena.


June 21, 2004 –The Governor and Mrs. Rowland address the state from the Governor’s residence. He announces his resignation effective July 1.


September 23, 2004 –Rowland’s former co-chief of staff, Peter Ellef and contractor William Tomasso are indicted on 15 counts by Federal Prosecutors.


December 23, 2004 – Former Governor John Rowland pleads guilty in U.S. District Court to one felony count of conspiracy to commit tax fraud and mail fraud. As a result, Rowland faces between 15 and 21 months in prison and a fine of up to $40,000. Sentencing is scheduled for March 11, 2005.