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Gov. Rowland Resigns

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There goes Connecticut, trying to one up Rhode Island on government corruption. Well Gov. Rowland ain't no Buddy Cianci! :P

Conn. Governor Announces Resignation

By SUSAN HAIGH

Associated Press Writer - Jun 21, 6:26 PM EDT

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Gov. John G. Rowland announced his resignation Monday amid a months-long cascade of graft allegations, a federal investigation and a rapidly gathering drive to impeach him for accepting gifts from friends and businessmen.

Rowland, a third-term Republican who was once one of the GOP's rising young stars, became engulfed in scandal in December when he admitted accepting renovations at his lakeside cottage - including a hot tub and new heating system - and lying about it. Other gifts and favors soon came to light.

"I acknowledge that my poor judgment has brought us here," Rowland said, standing on the back lawn of the governor's mansion, his wife Patty by his side.

Rowland, 47, becomes the first U.S. governor in seven years to resign under pressure. His resignation is effective July 1.

Republican Lt. Gov. M. Jodi Rell will serve the rest of Rowland's term. The next gubernatorial election is in 2006.

One longtime friend, a state contractor, bought the governor's Washington condominium at an inflated price through a straw buyer.

Rowland received cigars, champagne, a vintage Ford Mustang convertible, a canoe and free or discounted vacations from employees and friends - including some with state contracts. The FBI was even looking into whether Rowland skimmed money from low-stakes poker games he hosted.

For months, Rowland has insisted he never did anything in exchange for the gifts. But the drumbeat of allegations sent his approval ratings plummeting and led to demands for his resignation from Republicans and Democrats alike.

"The governor has chosen late in this journey to take the honorable road. John Rowland made many bad choices that led us to today's resignation," said House Speaker Moira Lyons, a Democrat. "I am sad that such a gifted and talented leader chose a path of deception and ethical malaise for so long."

The decision effectively brings an end to what was once considered a remarkable political career. Rowland was elected to the state House at 23 and quickly became the boy wonder of Connecticut politics, using his charm to get elected to Congress at 27 and become governor at 37.

From The Providence Journal

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