Treasurer Curt Meier and his lone challenger — Cheyenne resident, fellow Republican and political newcomer Bill Gallop — both say they’ll base their campaigns on the incumbent’s record of performance. They differ widely on how they believe that record should be viewed.

Gallop formed his first impressions of Meier, he said, during the treasurer’s service on the board of the Wyoming Retirement System, where Gallop worked as a senior investment officer. 

Fellow trustees overseeing the investment of pension funds for state employees were less than kind in their critiques of Meier, according to Gallop. 

“Board members literally sent out images to Wyoming Retirement System investment staff of Curt Meier asleep in public meetings,” Gallop said. 

Gallop said he’s not trying to score political points by recalling those emails. But he thinks he could do better. 

“I’m focused on the skill requirements for the Wyoming state treasurer,” Gallop said. “I’ve been a professional investor working large pension plans for three decades.” 

Meier, in contrast to his opponent, is a known commodity in Wyoming politics. He served as a state senator representing Goshen, Niobrara and Weston counties for 23 years before being elected treasurer — one of only five statewide elected offices — in 2018. He secured the Republican nomination that year with 50.2% of the vote before cruising to victory in the general election. During Donald Trump’s May 28 rally in Casper, the former president even gave Meier a shout-out. 

Wyoming State Treasurer Curt Meier. (Mike Koshmrl/WyoFile)

Meier’s running on his track record leading the Wyoming State Treasurer’s Office for 3.5 years despite some admitted flaws. During the Wyoming Legislature’s 2022 budget session, Meier graded his office’s accounting performance as subpar

“Disappointing. A C-minus. Some people might think we’re lower,” Meier said at the time. “I’m transparent. It’s not as good as we would like.”

That self critique came while Meier’s office was failing to produce legally mandated financial reports on time, raising transparency concerns, threatening the state’s creditworthiness and inhibiting the work of budgeters and state agencies. At one point in the process, Meier’s office was unable to account for roughly $106 million in state funds. That tardiness held up the State Auditor’s Office’s Annual Comprehensive Financial Report for six months; the tell-all audit of Wyoming’s financial assets was finally released to the public in mid-June. 

But Meier stands behind his tenure as treasurer when taken as a whole. He’s proud, he said, of shoring up and guiding the investment of funds at the Wyoming Retirement System, where his opponent once worked. 

“When I started at the system, I think they were at $5 billion,” Meier said. “Now we’re knocking on the door of $9-plus billion.

“It’s changed from when I was first there,” he added. “The board made all the decisions about [investment] managers frankly based on who bought the best bottle of wine the night before. When I got on the board, we shook things up. We got rid of favoritism and nepotism.” 

In addition to the Retirement Board, by law the Wyoming treasurer also serves on the Board of State Land Commissioners and the State Loans and Investments Board.

Meier also touted his performance at his core duty: Overseeing management of the state’s coffers. Investment income from Wyoming’s sovereign wealth is a critical source of revenue that the state relies on to balance its budget.  

“We went from $20 billion to, within three years, over $25 billion,” Meier said. “There are a lot of good things going on in the treasurer’s office. We’re looking forward to going from the median into the top quartile in our investment funds.” 

Gallop disagreed, saying Meier ought to be doing better. The gains Meier points to came during a period of historic growth, a rising tide that lifted all ships.

“If you’re a fisherman, the fish were jumping in the boat during these three years,” Gallop said.

Wyoming’s approach to investing has cost the state billions of dollars, and left it trailing comparable institutions, according to a 2020 WyoFile investigation.  

“We’re sitting on $25 billion that’s being under-managed and is underperforming,” Gallop said. “And you have somebody who has no idea what they’re doing and no professional investment background. There’s a skill requirement there. It’s not a legal requirement, but I don’t think the public is aware how bad the treasury portfolio has underperformed its nearest neighbor up the street: the Wyoming Retirement System.” 

Meier, whose academic and professional backgrounds are in agriculture, stood behind his qualifications. He grew his LaGrange ranch into a multimillion dollar operation, he said. 

“I’ve signed the front of the check and the back of the check,” Meier said. “I know about business. There’s a lot of practical experience that I bring to this job, just not something that you learn about in a college class.”  

Gallop has never run for office, but intends to play up his professional background while campaigning, which he admitted has not started in earnest other than online. After growing up in Connecticut he enrolled in the United States Military Academy, graduating from West Point in 1986 with a degree in computer science. He served active duty as an Army officer, then went back to school, earning a master’s of business administration from Cornell University. His first civilian job was on Wall Street in the early ‘90s, then he oversaw a $10 billion endowment for a Hawaiin private school. He also worked for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation before coming to work for the Wyoming Retirement System, where his employment spanned from July 2016 to February 2019, according to the state office. 

Sen. Mike Gierau (D-Teton) . (Mike Koshmrl/WyoFile)

Sen. Mike Gierau (D-Jackson) is one member of the Wyoming Legislature who’s kept a close eye on the treasurer’s office and is grateful that there’s somebody taking Meier on. 

“I think [Meier’s] record on investment and record on his total job performance deserves a total review. Let the voters decide,” Gierau said. “There are 25 billion reasons why voters should care about this race.”

Mike Koshmrl

Mike Koshmrl reports from Jackson on state politics and Wyoming's natural resources. Prior to joining WyoFile, he spent nearly a decade covering the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s wild places and creatures...

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  1. 3 Year* Cumulative Investment Returns (2019-2021):

    US Stock Market +103.5%
    WY Treasury Portfolio: 29%

    * corresponds to Curt Meier 3 years in WYTreasurer office beginning 2019

    WY Treasury Office Investment is Broken Engine with 7 of 8 cylinders busted under Curt Meier

    Highlights: (per WY Treasurers website, reports as of March 2022)

    1. Losses in cash management (“Broke the Buck” )

    2. Invested heavily in Emerging Markets Bonds in 2019, hired three external managers. More losses

    3. Internally managed Equities badly under performing benchmark. Beyond statistical control for quantitive strategies.

    4. Poor results from Hedge Funds, barely generating positive inflation-adjusted returns (real returns)

    5. Failure to materially participate in the 3 year surge in US Stock market gains, amid extremely low interest rates, a period of “free money” stimulus and Quantiative easing

    6. No evidence in total portfolio returns of Diversification benefits expected from portfolio structure

    7. Lack of currency hedging during an interval of temarkable US Dollar Appreciation

  2. Asleep at the wheel with $25 billion in the backseat. Waiting for the car to crash.

  3. Just curious if the author or anyone else has investigated whether the performance of state funds is based more in the decisions of the Treasurer, or the conservative investment restrictions placed on him by the Legislature? He does not have the freedom to manage state funds that you or I do to manage personal funds. At one point the Treasurer wasn’t even allowed to invest in foreign markets, I believe that has changed some but don’t know to what extent. Perhaps the author could investigate that aspect.

  4. I am certain that Gallop is eminently more qualified than Curt Meier. The problem is the voting electorate in Wyoming won’t care.

  5. It was “fun” watching him run for office as all he had to do was fall out of his Mercedes, bible in hand and NRA hat on his head. During candidate forums the voters cared weirdly about whether any of us would vote for or against Brett Kavanaugh and paid no attention to the man entrusted with Wyoming’s 25 billion. He got so little attention he would disappear during candidate forums and walk around the venue with a phone in his hand. It was clear on the 2018 campaign trail that no one in the know thought he was competent and it appears he lacks the one trait to get him over the hump; find someone in the office that will like you enough to help you get your job done.

    Thanks for fleshing out his past as he inherited his position and has done nothing but barely show up, while letting others do his tasks. Do not worry Republicans he has the hook that will get him elected again, blame Joe Biden and chant Let’s Go Brandon!

    Owning the libs at a cost of 25 billion just goes to show what Republicans are willing to do to wreck the country for all of US.

    1. Alright, Greg Hunter. I was trying to research the two candidates, but you talked me in to it. I’m voting for Meier.