Conn. Agency Admits to Illegal Contributions

December 28, 2004

A Wethersfield, Conn. insurance agency has pleaded guilty to making illegal campaign contributions to disgraced former Waterbury Mayor Philip Giordano, who is in prison for sexually abusing two girls.

Five employees of Arthur A. Watson & Co. and their spouses each made $1,000 contributions — a total of $10,000 — to Giordano’s failed U.S. Senate campaign in 2000, when he was still mayor, U.S. Attorney Kevin O’Connor said. Authorities said donations totalling $8,000 from four couples were illegal.

The insurance firm reimbursed four employees and their spouses for the campaign contributions, disguising the reimbursements as commissions or salaries, authorities said. Federal law prohibits a corporation from contributing to federal campaigns and reimbursing others for contributions.

The company, which pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport this week, faces a maximum penalty of five years of probation and a $200,000 fine, O’Connor said.

Sentencing is set for March 11, 2005.

Giordano, the unsuccessful Republican challenger to Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman in 2000, was convicted last year of violating the civil rights of two young girls by sexually abusing them. He also was convicted of using a cellular phone to set up the meetings with the girls. He is serving a 37-year prison sentence, and awaits trial on related state charges.

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