Wyoming Rep. Chuck Gray (R-Casper) works the crowd on a campaign stop in Sheridan County in May 2021. Gray is one of eight candidates running in the 2022 Republican Primary against Liz Cheney. (Nick Reynolds/WyoFile)

A secretive political action committee with distant ties to former President Donald Trump appears to be supporting state Rep. Chuck Gray (R-Casper) in the race to defeat U.S. Congresswoman Liz Cheney in next year’s Republican primary.

The organization, “Protect Wyoming Values PAC,” officially filed with the Federal Elections Commission earlier this month. It has since launched a Facebook and text message campaign that thus far has offered support only for Gray in his campaign against the third-term congresswoman. Seven candidates have announced their bids to challenge Cheney. 

“Wyoming has been the topic of discussion in national politics, but not for good reason,” the group wrote in a recent advertisement on its Facebook page. “Even though Wyoming is Trump Country, Wyoming’s current Congresswoman is leading the team of Never Trump, Establishment Misfits. It’s embarrassing for Wyoming and out-of-touch with Wyoming Voters and Values. We need a Pro-Trump, MAGA Warrior like Chuck Gray to put Wyoming First and fight for us in Washington!”

Gray declined to comment. 

Public filings offer little indication as to who is behind the PAC. The organization lists no local officers on its filings with the Federal Elections Commission, and boasts a Teton County phone number. When called for additional information, the number went straight to a Google voicemail box.

That same number, according to documents from the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office, belongs to a registered agent located at 30 N. Gould St. in Sheridan. That address is commonly used as a mail-forwarding address by various shell companies and political organizations.

A Facebook post by the PAC Protect Wyoming Values boosting Rep. Chuck Gray (R-Casper) in his bid to replace Rep. Liz Cheney. The PAC has not supported any other candidate. (Screenshot/Facebook)

As a newly formed PAC, there is little financial information to indicate who is backing the organization and why. However, public filings list the organization’s treasurer as Charles Gantt.

Gantt, whose compliance firm worked closely with Mitt Romney and Trump’s presidential campaigns, is senior vice president for the Massachusetts-based fundraising firm Red Curve Solutions — a top vendor of the Republican National Committee and the former president, according to campaign finance reports.

Gantt has played a role in backing numerous conservative organizations and candidates around the country, including in New Mexico. 

The PAC’s website also shares an IP address with other websites for conservative organizations and candidates around the country, including South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and the Republican National Committee’s election integrity working group, which Wyoming Republican Party Chairman Frank Eathorne is a member of.

Also sharing that IP address is Florida resident Christian Ziegler — a top figure in that state’s conservative politics and a friend of Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who has expressed an interest in the race to defeat Cheney. 

Ziegler has also been linked to out-of-state conservative activism. Ziegler’s consulting firm, Microtargeted Media, is also among the websites listed at that IP address.

It is unclear whether Lewandowski is directly tied to the PAC. Lewandowski has kept tabs on the race in Wyoming, and has been raising money to primary Cheney through his “Fight Back America PAC,” Axios reported in January.

The backers of the PAC will likely be made public with the FEC’s next filing deadline on July 15.

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Representatives for Cheney declined comment. 

Secretive PACs are nothing new in Wyoming’s elections. In the 2018 gubernatorial elections, a secretive PAC called Wyoming Friends of Coal emerged late in the race to oppose then-candidate Mark Gordon. That led later calls for campaign finance reform in Wyoming.

Conversations about campaign finance reform have continued into the 2021 interim session. The Joint Committee on Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions is expected to take up the subject at its next meeting, which has not yet been scheduled. 

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  1. I have refused to support anyone who openly supports the criminal Donald J Trump. I, won’t give him one red cent and will at every singalong opportunity to speak out against him at every turn. Wake up Wyoming there was no election fraud that was enough to turn over this last election snd if I see someone standing in line to vote on a hot day and I have a bottle of water I’ll give it to them! I’ve been a poll worker in three states and just one was there a issue with a fellow worker and he was removed!

  2. The only question to be asked and answered…”Is there anything illegal with the PAC”? If not, this is a ho hum story as there are probably thousands of similar PACs across the country. The President likely hid mega millions from foreign donors, all legal. A small time PAC in Wyoming is barely significant. Your next PAC should be on Lizzy’s cash, where you might find some real beef.

    1. I agree with you on many things, Vern, but I have to disagree on this. Chuck Gray’s public comments make it apparent that he has much in common with Marjorie Greene from Georgia, Matt Gaetz from Florida, or Lauren Boebert from Colorado. Take this little gem from the Casper Star Tribune on March 11, 2021 “The radical Left is attempting to destroy our Wyoming way of life by cancelling fossil fuels,” (Rep. Chuck) Gray said in a written statement. “Reliability on the grid would be destroyed by the radical Left’s actions. A reliable energy grid heats our homes and powers our businesses. (House Bill) 155 is designed to stop the radical Left from doing to Wyoming what they’ve already done to Texas, Colorado, and California. We saw in Texas what will happen if the radical Left wins on this issue.”
      What in the hell does that even mean? It is nothing but buzz words with no substance. If there is outside money…secret or not…hoping Wyoming will be represented by such a vacuous person I think that is newsworthy whether it is a common story or not. We all know that money talks in elections, and especially in Wyoming it is important we know where that money comes from. I’d like to know who out there wants Wyoming to be represented by a buffoon.

      1. Years ago, the late Dick Sadler wrote a letter to the editor that warned the Wyoming Public against voting for Chuck Gray. His message was that Mr. Gray was a divisive person. Of course, I can’t stand most politicians, but I respected Mr. Sadler. He was a no B.S. truth talker, and the real deal.

  3. How “secretive” is the guy? The correct byline is, “A conservative filed for office…the WyoFile is a liberal rag and we don’t cotton to no damn conservatives…”
    Glad I could fix it for ya.

    -`-`

    +—–+`

  4. This article is a great example of the need for investigative journalism. These facts and data and revelations don’t just appear by themselves out of the blue. The reporter obviously spent many hours tracking the players and money trail to provide insight for Wyoming residents to read and consider. No wonder the GOP hates the media and smears reporters with insults. They don’t want their dirty laundry and underhanded tricks, held up to the light of day.

  5. I don’t have anything in common politically with Liz Cheney other than I do believe, as she does, that we should follow our Constitution and follow the rule of law. Sometimes your favorite candidate looses. Trump lost, owing to his own fault. He got beat by an old geezer who campaigned from his basement. Get over it. Guys like Chuck Gray are trying to float on a stream of B.S. from an imagery world.