By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A video showing an exchange between a Wyoming hospital lobbyist and two Wyoming senators does not appear to be as tense as what was described when one of the senators was removed from his committees as punishment for the incident.
Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, on Wednesday released a video of an exchange between him, fellow Sen. Tom James, R-Green River, and Eric Boley, president of the Wyoming Hospital Association, that prompted Boley to file a complaint against Bouchard with legislative leaders.
In his complaint, Boley said Bouchard had been “combative” and “disrespectful” to witnesses offering testimony in front of legislative committees during the Legislature’s budget session.
During the exchange, Boley said, Bouchard and James tried to intimidate him.
“They entered my personal space and confronted me in an abusive and demanding tone and tried to intimidate me with their body language,” Boley wrote.
The security video from the exchange in the Senate lobby, posted by Bouchard to his Facebook page, shows the three men having a discussion the morning of March 8. There is no sound to the video.
Bouchard and James stand opposite to Boley in the video, and Bouchard is seen in profile. During the 4-minute video, Bouchard can be seen gesturing somewhat with his right hand, with his left hand in his pants pocket.
James’ back is to the camera, so his hands cannot be clearly seen, but according to Bouchard, they were in his suspenders.
Boley also gestures with both hands during the confrontation, pointing and moving his hand, palm open, around while talking with the senators.
Boley did not return requests from Cowboy State Daily for comment, but Bouchard told Cowboy State Daily that Boley’s actions in filing the complaint were “dishonest” and “damaging.”
“I reviewed all the committee video that Boley cited by date in his complaint, as well as my attorney,” Bouchard told Cowboy State Daily. “It looks bad for them. There’s nothing to substantiate Boley’s story.”
As a result of Boley’s complaint, Bouchard was removed from his committee assignments by the state Senate. The Legislature’s Management Council is supposed to determine whether the evidence against Bouchard is enough to proceed with a formal hearing.
“The five on the committee that are tasked with review all voted to strip me of my committee assignments,” Bouchard told Cowboy State Daily. “I’m sure they are having quite the conversation behind closed doors.”
He added he believed would be left with a dilemma, since there was no evidence against him.
“If they choose not to move this complaint forward, they’ve already taken action against me, which incriminates the senators that took action,” Bouchard said. “If they choose to move forward, it goes to a full public hearing and I get to prove…what is going on using the very evidence that’s on video.”