By Ellen Fike and Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
The leadership of Wyoming’s Republican Party is asking the secretary of state to determine whether a legislator has moved out of the district he was elected to represent.
The party’s central committee agreed Saturday to ask the secretary of state’s office to look into whether Rep. Dan Zwonitzer, R-Cheyenne, has moved out of House District 43, the district he has represented since 2005.
The decision was made in response to a concern raised by Joey Correnti IV, chairman of the Carbon County Republican Party, who said he wanted to see if the central committee thought the issue merited further review.
“I have a concern; I don’t have an indictment,” he told Cowboy State Daily. “I don’t know that the secretary of state won’t forward it to the attorney general’s office, but I would assume that between those two offices, those are the appropriate departments to address it or at least look at it.”
Zwonitzer did not immediately return Cowboy State Daily’s calls or emails seeking comment.
Under Wyoming law, if a legislator moves out of the district he or she was represented to elect, the office is considered to be vacant.
During the central committee meeting, Correnti told committee members he was presented with information such as property deeds and tax records that indicated Zwonitzer may be living outside of HD 43.
The issue came to his attention, Correnti said, through his involvement in the legislative effort to redraw House and Senate district boundaries to conform with the latest state census results.
He added he was concerned because some proposals reviewed by the Legislature’s Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee, which is co-chaired by Zwonitzer, had proposed reconfiguring HD 43 to include the neighborhood where he believes the documents indicate Zwonitzer may be living.
“Over the past two weeks, I’ve been provided with documentation that convinces me there’s a legitimate concern that Rep. Dan Zwonitzer … is now practicing as an illegitimate representative of his district, from outside of his district,” Correnti told committee members. “Every plan for redistricting I have seen from Dan Zwonitzer has expanded from his current district to include the residence he has potentially moved into.”
Correnti told Cowboy State Daily on Monday that he was contacted by others who expressed concern over redistricting efforts.
“I’m not going to take credit for doing the legwork, but I reviewed some of the information, spoke to a couple of people in the party and reviewed our statutes,” he said. “I felt at a certain point members of the party needed to have (the information), see it, know about it and see if there was enough concern to raise the issue with the secretary of state.”
Correnti stressed he is not accusing Zwonitzer of any wrongdoing, but he does want the issue examined.
“Government is administered on behalf of ‘We the People,’” he said. “It’s incumbent on the people to do the legwork and stay on top of it to be sure the government is administered on our behalf.
“Maybe it’s something concerning, maybe it’s easily explained,” he said. “It’s not a condemnation.”