Home New Haven Press Releases 2014 Congressional Candidate, Husband Admit Violating Campaign Finance Laws

Congressional Candidate, Husband Admit Violating Campaign Finance Laws

U.S. Attorney’s Office March 31, 2014
  • District of Connecticut (203) 821-3700

The United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut and the United States Postal Inspection Service announced that Lisa Wilson-Foley, a former candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, and her husband, Brian Foley, of Simsbury, pleaded guilty today before U.S Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez in Hartford to conspiring to make illegal campaign contributions.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in 2011 and 2012, Wilson-Foley, 54, was a candidate for election to the U.S. House of Representatives from Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District and competing in a primary campaign for the nomination of the Republican Party. As a candidate for federal office, Wilson-Foley and her associates formed and registered with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) the “Lisa Wilson-Foley for Congress” committee in order to receive contributions and make expenditures on behalf of her campaign.

Wilson-Foley knew that federal law imposed restrictions on contributions to federal campaigns and that her campaign committee was required by law to file periodic reports with the FEC detailing, among other things, contributions made to her campaign and expenditures made on the campaign’s behalf. Under the federal campaign finance laws, convention, primary and general election campaign contributions were limited to $2,500 each, for a total of $7,500, from any individual to any one candidate. Wilson-Foley knew that one of the purposes of the FEC reporting requirements was to make available to the voting public information concerning the source of contributions to the campaign and the nature of the campaign’s expenditures.

In September 2011, Wilson-Foley, Foley, and a co-conspirator, who is a former elected official in the state of Connecticut, entered into an unlawful conspiracy to make and cause to be made illegal contributions to Wilson-Foley’s campaign. As part of the scheme, the co-conspirator proposed to Wilson-Foley and Foley that he, the co-conspirator, be hired to work on the campaign. The co-conspirator advised that he could replace the private political consultant that the campaign had retained. Wilson-Foley wanted the co-conspirator to work on the campaign but believed that if the co-conspirator was hired in a significant role by her campaign and paid through her campaign committee for that work, the media and the voting public would become aware of the co-conspirator’s official association with her campaign. Wilson-Foley believed that, because the co-conspirator had previously been convicted of a felony offense, disclosure of his paid role in the campaign would result in substantial negative publicity for Wilson-Foley’s candidacy. In order to retain the co-conspirator’s services for the campaign while reducing the risk that his paid campaign role would be disclosed to the public, Wilson-Foley, Foley, and the co-conspirator agreed that the co-conspirator would be paid by Foley to work on the campaign.

Foley, 62, owns a Connecticut nursing home company and a number of other related companies, including a real estate company. As part of the scheme, the co-conspirator, Foley, and others created and executed a fictitious contract outlining an agreement purportedly for consulting services between the co-conspirator and the law offices of an attorney who worked for Foley’s nursing home company. Foley made regular payments to the co-conspirator for his work on behalf of Wilson-Foley’s campaign and routed those payments from his real estate company through the law offices of the attorney and on to the co-conspirator.

The co-conspirator provided nominal services to Foley’s nursing home company in order to create a “cover” that he was being paid for those nominal services when, in fact, he was being paid in exchange for his work on behalf of Wilson-Foley’s campaign.

Between September 2011 and April 2012, the co-conspirator was paid approximately $35,000 for services rendered to Wilson-Foley’s campaign. The payments originated with Foley and constituted campaign contributions but were not reported to the FEC in violation of federal campaign finance laws.

Wilson-Foley and Foley are scheduled to be sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Warren W. Eginton in Bridgeport on June 23, 2014, at which time they face a maximum term of imprisonment of one year and a fine of up to $100,000.

This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Postal Investigation Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Liam Brennan and Christopher Mattei.