- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 16, 2014

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says he wants to return $750 in contributions in his bid for the Republican nomination for governor from a couple who pleaded guilty in a campaign contribution scandal. But the money has already been spent, Boughton said.

The couple, Lisa Wilson-Foley and her husband, Brian Foley, pleaded guilty March 31 to conspiring to make illegal campaign contributions. Prosecutors said they were involved in a scheme that hid the consulting role former Gov. John Rowland played in Wilson-Foley’s 2012 campaign for Congress. Wilson-Foley wanted Rowland to work on her primary campaign but believed that because he had been convicted of a felony, his involvement would attract negative publicity to her candidacy, prosecutors said.

Boughton said he would return the money, which was donated to his exploratory committee, if there were a way to do so, The New Haven Register reported (https://bit.ly/1h30A4Y ).

“If there was a way to return the money, we would,” he said. “The committee’s closed out, you can’t go back, so there’s no money to be able to refund - but certainly, that would be something we would do. If the checked showed up in the mail today, I would send it back.”

The Foleys each contributed $375 to the committee last fall. State rules allow candidates with an exploratory committee to accept up to $375. Boughton’s campaign said none of the money moved into his candidate committee.

Boughton said he took the money from the Foleys without question.

“It’s not like I’m the only person who took a donation from Lisa and Brian, and it seems like some people have an issue with just me doing it. … It’s what they did. They would donate money to various campaigns,” he said.

Rowland pleaded not guilty Friday to conspiracy and other federal charges in an alleged pursuit of secret consulting roles with two congressional campaigns.

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Information from: New Haven Register, https://www.nhregister.com

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