Sen. Charles Scott (R-Casper) presides over the Bates Creek Cattle Company and Eagle Ridge Ranch, enterprises that do business with the state of Wyoming, at least in a roundabout way.
The tall, 77-year-old senator from Natrona County divulged that information in his annual financial disclosure form, even though he admittedly wasn’t sure if he needed to.
“Both the business entities listed in the previous page lease state land for grazing purposes, but this appears not to meet the ‘contract’ definition above,” Scott wrote.
The disclosures are required of Scott and his 92 counterparts in the Wyoming Legislature by Jan. 31 each year. As of Feb. 3, Rep. Dave Zwonitzer (R-Cheyenne) was the only member of the Legislature whose form was not conveyed to WyoFile by Joe Rubino, chief policy officer and general counsel for the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office.
Financial disclosure forms enable the public to monitor for potential conflicts of interest. They are required by a state statute specifying that legislators and the five statewide elected officials must list businesses in which they hold a 10% or greater interest. They also must disclose contracts with the state for services and supplies valued at more than $5,000.
Most representatives and senators don’t have much to report.
Reporting requirements for elected officials in Wyoming’s executive branch differ. Those officials — the governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, state auditor and state superintendent — file an additional code of ethics form disclosing items or services received in excess of $250. Those are due Feb. 15.
All forms are submitted to and cataloged by the Office of Wyoming Secretary of State. They’re not posted automatically online, but WyoFile acquires them annually with a records request and shares them with the public to review.
Newly elected Secretary of State Chuck Gray, like the other statewide elected officeholders, must submit his own forms, too. In Gray’s financial disclosure he claimed Mount Rushmore Broadcasting, Inc. as an employer for “a portion” of 2022 on his disclosure form. Gray’s father, Jan Charles Gray, is president and owner of the Delaware-based entity.
As WyoFile previously reported, the corporation was administratively dissolved by the state almost two decades ago for failing to pay its license fees to Wyoming and file annual reports to the office Gray now heads up. Foreign entities may not transact business in Wyoming without a certificate of authority, per state statute, and those that do business in the state without such authority can be liable for back taxes and legal penalties.
Under Wyoming statute, Mount Rushmore Broadcasting cannot be reinstated since it didn’t make right with the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office during a probation period.
Gray declined to answer questions for this story, but emailed WyoFile a statement. In full, it reads:
“Just as they did during the campaign, Wyo[F]ile is once again doing the bidding of their socialist Democrat financial backers by falsely trying to link me to something that I had nothing to do with and that occurred when I was 3 years old,” Gray wrote. “Wyo[F]ile’s continued false statements about me are driven by their liberalism and their hatred for the conservative policies that I continue to stand for.”
Gray also noted in his response that he was forwarding the correspondence to his attorney.
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Below are financial disclosure forms and code of ethics forms received by the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office as of Feb. 3. See something fishy? Missing? Send any tips to email@example.com.
House of Representatives
RJ Kost *
*Denotes former officeholders