The Wyoming State Supreme court in Cheyenne. (Andrew Graham/WyoFile)

The Wyoming State Bar declined to initiate a disciplinary investigation into Harriet Hageman, a natural resources attorney, in July after another lawyer filed a grievance against the congressional candidate, according to records shared with WyoFile. 

Darby Hoggatt submitted the complaint after watching Hageman debate Rep. Liz Cheney on June 30. During the televised event, Hageman downplayed the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and said there were “serious questions about the 2020 election.” 

“As a licensed attorney in the State of Wyoming, I believe it is incumbent upon your agency to investigate Ms. Hageman who appears to advocate and support the coup that former President Trump attempted on January 6, 2021,” Hoggatt wrote in the complaint. “If a Wyoming attorney supports the overthrow of our democracy, how can she maintain her license to practice law?”

The complaint raises similar concerns to those in a letter sent by 41 Wyoming legal professionals to Hageman earlier this month, cautioning her against making false statements about the 2020 election. The group argues that spreading election misinformation is professional misconduct and violates the oath of attorney. Still, the group opted to send the letter directly to Hageman rather than submitting it as a complaint to the bar. 

After WyoFile reported on the letter last week, Hoggatt shared copies of his grievance and the bar’s response with a reporter. 

In his complaint, Hoggatt likened Hageman to Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell — two attorneys that faced disciplinary action by their respective state bars for their legal work attempting to overturn the 2020 election. 

There is a distinction, however, between Hageman’s “political posturing and the conduct of Giuliani and other Trump lawyers” Bar Counsel Mark Gifford wrote in a response to Hoggatt on July 5. Giuliani and others faced disciplinary sanctions for making false statements before a tribunal, whereas Hageman was speaking outside of a court proceeding. 

Timeline

At the time of Hoggatt’s complaint, Hageman had not yet taken a definitive stance on the 2020 election, repeating instead that there were unknowns, including the results. But shortly before the primary election, Hageman said “absolutely the election was rigged” during a candidate forum in Casper. 

That particular instance inspired the letter penned by 41 of her colleagues this month. The authors allege that such a definitive statement is in violation of one particular section of the Wyoming Rules of Professional Conduct. Gifford also pointed to the rule in his response to Hoggatt. 

“The only possible rule applicable to her conduct is Rule 8.4(c) which prohibits a lawyer from engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation,” Gifford wrote. However, “The conduct you point to with Hageman could just as easily be cast as the exercise of her right of free speech in voicing an opinion that is held by a large number of people, some of them, regrettably, lawyers.”

The bar’s response to Hoggatt preceded Hageman’s more recent and direct false statements about the 2020 election, opening the possibility for a new complaint to be filed with the state bar. However, because such proceedings are confidential, State Bar Executive Director Sharon Wilkinson would neither confirm nor deny that any such complaints had been filed. Wilkinson also declined to comment to WyoFile regarding Hoggatt’s complaint.

Harriet Hageman meets a voter at a rally in Jackson. (Angus M. Thuermer, Jr./WyoFile)

Disciplinary process 

Wyoming Bar Counsel Mark Gifford is responsible for bringing actions for discipline against lawyers under rules of professional conduct. 

“It’s a big job and he brings a lot of cases. He processes a lot of complaints about lawyers and determines whether they have some kind of merit or not,” Bill Schwartz, an attorney, previously told WyoFile in describing the bar’s disciplinary process. 

Complaints can range from a client alleging they’ve been taken advantage of by an attorney to lawyers reporting the conduct of their peers. As counsel, Gifford also has the ability to bring disciplinary actions on his own, should he become aware of something that appears to be a violation. 

If counsel determines that a complaint has merit, he then presents the case to the Board of Professional Responsibility, which is made up of six lawyers and three non-lawyers who serve three-year terms. The board acts as the hearing body for all attorney-discipline matters and has the ability to issue private reprimands. For more serious cases of misconduct, it can make a written recommendation to the Wyoming Supreme Court for public censure, suspension or disbarment. Ultimately, the Wyoming Supreme Court is the only body with authority to order public discipline. 

Proceedings remain confidential unless a public discipline is taken. 

Hageman did not respond to WyoFile’s request for comment. 

Maggie Mullen

Maggie Mullen reports on state government and politics. Before joining WyoFile in 2022, she spent five years at Wyoming Public Radio.

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  1. LOL. Whadga expect? Fascists stick together–for warmth I suppose, or perhaps to savor their own scents.

  2. This is not the fist time Mr. Mark Gifford has shown he holds far too much authority as the Director of the Wyoming State Bar. I presented Mr. Gifford with legal documentation of attorney ethics violations and he not only declined to investigate but advised via a threat that I could not tell a news journalist.

    It’s long overdue to review the power one person holds at the Wyoming State Bar.

  3. If our court system cannot up hold the law we are on a path for a dictator like North Korea or Russia just find your charismatic cult leader and never question what is said.

    1. You already have that.
      But he is a Democrat so you are ok with it.
      Except the charisma part.
      Nazi Joe is not engaging.

  4. She should be censored. Lying as an attorney and as a candidate is just wrong. Straight up wrong. Who can trust a liar?

  5. The truth is known.
    Lies don’t alter facts.
    The methods of election theft are known. We are watching.
    Criminal Democrats are warned.
    Don’t do it again.

  6. 60 court cases said to the trump team bring the evidence and you will have your say in court! They could not produce evidence of election fraud. Giuliani, trumps guy, said “they have lots of theories but no evidence.” He knew lying in court would get him in jail.
    So all these election deniers have never seen ANY election fraud evidence. It does not exist. They need to produce proof or shut their mouth. They vomit lies from their mouth because they benefit more from lying than telling the truth! It is criminal to conspire to commit fraud. Hageman and many other are conspiring to commit fraud about elections with zero evidence.

  7. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and open minds are subject to opinion change. Facts are facts and not subject to change. Repeating opinions without having facts, or proof, is the same as lying.

  8. Harriet Hageman repeatedly insinuates the 2020 election was rigged. I am beginning to think she knows more about rigged elections than I first thought. Perhaps, the 40+ lawyers should be investigating her connections to ballot tampering.
    Did Liz Cheney actually win?

  9. Hi, after reading the water deal above, which is a Hag, skam, 2000 she worked on a deal with Ne, cost us 9m, Attorney G, removed her, was just a big hocus, Pucos
    Watch what goes on with this water, I’m one that would just let the people play with it at no cost us, they run out of money ,it will be a good idea, Keep on top of it

  10. If Ms. Grey Bull doesn’t pull off some sort of miracle in November, we will have to get used to having Ms. Representation occupying Wyoming’s lone house seat.

  11. Since when has it been a disbarment issue for stating an opinion. Ms. Hageman was stating her opinion, and a lot of us here in Wyoming agree with her opinion, I find it interesting these so called “lawyers” and Mr, Hoggatt find it legal to squelch someone’s first amendment right. These liberals and their ideas arrogantly ,believing their opinions to be the only correct ones, are, in my opinion, not welcome here in Wyoming. Maybe these disgruntled attorneys should move their practice to a liberal blue state.

    1. Yours, Hagemans, and the rest of the gullible chrump worshippers “opinion” is not rooted in any facts whatsoever. Your “opinion” is nothing more than fairy tales. There was no fraud on the scale that you want. Chrump lost.

      Second place in a presidential election is the first loser. There are no participation trophies given to the loser.

      1. THOUSANDS of data analysts in all 50 States have reviewed the election data for the 2020 General Election and have found MASSIVE ELECTION FRAUD that stole that election from President Trump. Those of you who claim there was no election fraud haven’t done your homework to see the election fraud for what it is. It’s sad that you continue to deny the truth when the evidence is there for all to see who are willing to look.

      2. Mr. Davis. How do you explain away all the “voting irregularities” that took place. 1 comes to mind in Wisconsin 100,000 dead voters with all the same bday. 1-1-1917? Go ahead explain it! LOGICALLY. Then explain the missing mail truck trailer in PA that was never found. Explain why zero forensic examination of voting machines was or has EVER BEEN PERFORMED. I have open mind. Convince all with Doubt. Everything was above board and Biden could get this many votes and then approval fall so low. Mr. Davis you have the floor. Some of us are listening open minded. You talk the talk. Walk the walk. Also explain how Liz Cheney can grow her wealth from $7 million to $47 million in 12 years! With investment smarts like that why does she need a chump change job like congress woman?

        1. Your boy Bill Barr finally admitted that there was no evidence of fraud. Because there was no evidence of fraud. The claims you make are easily debunked, and have been repeatedly.

      1. Trump flicked on the light and all the cockroaches are visible now.
        Democrats have been committing election fraud for generations.
        Dead voters, mail in ballots, illegal aliens, prisoners.
        They literally do not care how they push a corpse like Biden across the finish line.
        The rest is all lies and cover-ups.
        The evidence is overwhelming.
        Lies from the left are old and tired.
        You are visible. We see you.

    2. She is conspiring to commit fraud by saying the election WAS rigged. She is profiting from those lies. She gains more from lying than telling the truth!

  12. When she uses her experience as a lawyer in one breath and then implies the lie in the next breath that there was a rigged election, which has been thoroughly debunked, then there should be a consequence. Many professions have policies and rules on these matters and they should be investigated and enforced.

  13. I looked up Darby Hoggatt, the personal injury lawyer that filed this sham of a lawsuit and noticed some debatable information on his webpage. He claims to be a native of two states.

    “Darby is a native of Wyoming and South Dakota. After graduating from Spearfish High School in 1988, he attended the University of Wyoming. It was at the University of Wyoming that he obtained a Bachelor of Science in finance (1992) and a law degree (1995).” *

    I thought it funny that this Colorado personal injury lawyer would sue a fellow lawyer for their legal and political position, all the while stretching the definition of “native” for his own personal promotion and business gain. Pot calls kettle black.

    * https://www.hoggattlaw.com/about-our-firm/attorneys/darby-hoggatt

  14. I wish the Wyoming Bar would enforce their own rules regarding Hageman. She lies repeatedly in public to mislead people. That is equivalent to a doctor promoting leeches, blood letting, echinacea, Laetrile etc. to treat lung cancer. They can’t do that in a medical setting with a live patient or at any other time. That is malpractice. What’s the difference with law and Hageman?

    1. Agreed – I think ALL politicians – but especially those who that a professional oath need to put up or shut up. So tired of the constant lying. It used to be normal to stretch the truth, spin a story or not quite give all the facts – but now it’s nothing for GOP politicians to just out and out lie to the public. Also tired of the “well it’s both sides” – because it’s NOT and even if it was that doesn’t justify it!

    2. As long as we have voters who will accept and support the lies, they will continue to lie. Wyoming and the GOP have lost their moral compass. Liz Cheney showed not only integrity, but tremendous courage by trying to expose the lie. Hageman is just another Republican trying to hold on to power for a dying party.

    3. Harriet Hageman isn’t lying about anything! You need to learn how to critically think and discover the truth, instead of being deceived by the talking points of the Democrats, who are the real liars in the world!

      1. Critical thinking isn’t repeating debunked fantasies and half truths. Your orange savior lost. It doesn’t matter how many times you watch 2000 mules. It doesn’t make it come true.

        Garbage in, garbage out