Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland's administration has been under intense scrutiny from federal investigators since a former aide pleaded guilty this month to accepting bribes.
Rowland denies any knowledge of a scheme that steered state business to certain contractors and said he is not a target of the investigation. He has asked state auditors to review all government contracts for possible improprieties, and he allowed reporters to review all the documents his office sent to the U.S. attorney's office.
"I want to make sure everything is done aboveboard, by the book," said the three-term governor, who is a friend of President Bush, a former chairman of the Republican Governors Association and once the nation's youngest governor.
On March 10, Rowland's former deputy chief of staff, Lawrence Alibozek, pleaded guilty in federal court to accepting cash, gold and other things of value in return for helping unnamed people get deals with the state.
Alibozek, 58, was deputy chief of staff from October 1997 to July 1999.
At least four current administration officials and six state agencies have received federal grand jury subpoenas. More may be forthcoming.
The subpoenas seek documents related to Rowland's former co-chief of staff, Peter Ellef. He resigned last year after the state trash authority, which Ellef chaired, lost $220 million in a deal with bankrupt energy trader Enron. Ellef and Alibozek are longtime friends.
Authorities have not identified the business allegedly involved in the scheme, but the subpoenas refer to the Tomasso Group, a New Britain construction firm.
Rowland acknowledges being a friend of the Tomasso family and has vacationed at Tomasso homes in Vermont and Florida, paying rents that real estate agents said were well below market value. He has asked the state Ethics Commission to investigate and promised to make up the difference between what he paid and the going rate.
Members of the Tomasso family contributed to his campaigns, and also contributed to the Republican Governors Association when Rowland was chairman.
The Tomasso Group has long been a major player in the state, predating Rowland's tenure. But several recent, multimillion-dollar projects, including a new juvenile training school that was awarded without the typical bidding process, are among the contracts under federal scrutiny.
Tomasso denies any wrongdoing.
Rowland, 45, was elected to a third term in November and has been popular throughout much of his tenure. However, his polling numbers have recently dropped to new lows.
Connecticut faces an estimated $900 million deficit in the new fiscal year that begins July 1. The deficit for the 2004-05 fiscal year is estimated to be approximately $1.4 billion.
There are mixed feelings about the scandal's effect on Rowland's ability to govern and to push his two-year, $27.66 billion package through the Democratic-controlled General Assembly.
"From my standpoint, I don't think so, but I can't speak for others," said Senate Minority Leader Louis DeLuca (R).
George Jepsen, the state Democratic Party chairman and last year's Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, said Rowland needs a plan to restore public faith in the executive branch.
"This is a tragedy for the state of Connecticut," he said. "It would be tougher for Governor Rowland to be lower in the polls than he is."