Tobacco Shop Owner Pleads Guilty In Campaign Finance Scheme
The co-owner of a Waterbury tobacco shop has pleaded guilty for his role in an alleged campaign finance scheme to influence former House Speaker Chris Donovan.
Paul Rogers, 40, of Middlebury, pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of devising a scheme to bribe a public official, and one count of conspiring to make false statements to the Federal Election Commission and impeding the enforcement of federal campaign finance laws.
Rogers was one of eight men who have been charged in a scheme to hide the source of $27,500 in campaign contributions which were allegedly intended to block state legislation detrimental to the roll-your-own tobacco industry.
At the time the donations were being made to Donovan’s unsuccessful congressional campaign, Donovan held one of the most influential positions in state government as Speaker of the House. The eight men, according to the federal indictment, sought to use straw donations to the campaign to kill the roll-your-own legislation, which was pending before the General Assembly.
The General Assembly ended up passing the roll-your-own legislation in a special legislative session last June, partially because they didn’t want the public to believe their influence had been bought.
Rogers was the third defendant to plead guilty. There are five more defendants who have been charged, but have yet to plead.
Ray Soucy, the former union official who delivered the checks to Donovan’s campaign, pleaded guilty last July to devising a scheme to bribe a public official, conspiring to make false statements to the FEC and impeding the FEC’s enforcement of federal campaign finance laws. David Moffa, another former union president, pleaded guilty in November to conspiring to make false statements to the FEC and to impede the FEC’s enforcement of federal campaign finance laws. Soucy and Moffa await sentencing.
Rogers will be sentenced March 20 in U.S. District Court in New Haven.