CHEYENNE - There have been questions raised recently regarding the operations of the Wyoming Republican Party. The first issue involved election reporting associated with the 2016 election, and the second issue related to fundraising.
As for the first issue, the Wyoming Republican Party recently entered into a settlement agreement with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) related to allegations of late campaign finance reporting during the 2016-2017 time-frame. The current Wyoming GOP leadership team was surprised to learn in 2017-2018 about an alleged FEC violation that occurred during the previous Republican Party administration. Not one of the current leadership team had any knowledge of, or participation in, the decisions leading up to either the joint fundraising agreement or the alleged violation. However, the current Wyoming GOP leadership team was tasked with addressing and resolving the matter.
At the time of the three reporting errors (spanning a 4-month period), Matt Micheli was the GOP Chairman. The reporting issues arose in relation to an agreement that Chairman Micheli had entered into with the Republican National Committee and the Trump Campaign for joint fundraising activities (a common practice for both the Republican and Democrat parties). Chairman Micheli had retained a small Utah accounting firm to handle the accounting and reporting obligations under the agreement. There were both State Democrat Parties and State Republican Parties who made the same error as Wyoming in relation to failing to fully satisfy the specific FEC reporting requirements during the same time frame. Wyoming, in other words, was not alone in the error that was allegedly made.
The Wyoming GOP has retained a different accounting vendor with extensive experience in these types of campaign finance issues. This particular firm is used by several other state GOPs and has an excellent reputation. The State Party took this step to ensure this type of reporting error does not occur again.
Under the recent agreement with the FEC, the Wyoming GOP has paid a $52,000 civil penalty. Current Wyoming GOP Chairman W. Frank Eathorne was successful in securing for the Party donated funds to cover the entire civil penalty. As a result of his efforts the State Party will not be out any money, having now been made whole.
We are also pleased to report that our fundraising has been strong, and we are meeting our financial planning goals. Despite the fact that covid has hindered our ability over the last year to hold in-person events, we are not only gaining donors, but the average amount donated by each has increased. Our numbers for 2021 compare favorably to past years, and we have every expectation that the donations will continue. We are a grassroots organization supported by grassroots conservatives who understand the importance of what we do.