By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming’s state treasurer gave more than $25,000 of his own money in donations to candidates and causes besides his own campaign during this year’s primary election.
While state Treasurer Curt Meier donated $5,566 to his own primary-election campaign, he gave over four times as much money, $25,300, to other political groups and candidates vying for seats in Wyoming’s Legislature and executive branch, according to Secretary of State documents.
Candidates sponsored directly by Meier and by a Meier-funded PAC won about 32% of their races in the primary election last month.
Meier also loaned his campaign $151,000, documents show.
Meier did not respond Friday morning to phone calls requesting comment.
His biggest single contribution this election season was a $10,000 donation to the political action group, Allen Jaggi PAC For Constitutional Issues. The only other donor was the group’s chairman, Allen Jaggi, who gave $50, according to the group’s campaign report for this election season.
Jaggi’s political action committee backed numerous Republican challengers in their bids to unseat incumbents in the state House and Senate. It also backed two candidates pursuing the state’s top executive-branch positions, documents show.
One Win, Won Loss In Executive Branch
Through the Allen Jaggi PAC, about $500 of Meier’s money went to Republican Rep. Chuck Gray, in the latter’s campaign for Wyoming Secretary of State. Gray defeated his opponent, Sen. Tara Nethercott in the primary election to win the Republican nomination.
But the other executive-branch candidate backed by Meier’s money, Brian Schroeder, was not as fortunate.
The group gave Schroeder $1,000, its largest contribution to any one candidate.
Schroeder lost the primary election to opponent Megan Degenfelder, who now is the Republican nominee for Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Ten-Grand And a Losing Record
The Allen Jaggi PAC gave Meier’s money to various legislative candidates.
For example, the group gave $500 to Rep. Dan Laursen, R-Powell, who hopped from the state House to the Senate to unseat Sen. R.J. Kost, R-Powell. Laursen defeated Kost in the primary election.
The group gave another $500 to Bill Allemand, who handily unseated Republican Rep. Patrick Sweeney, of Casper. It gave $500 to Bob Ide, who defeated Sen. Drew Perkins, R-Casper, in the primary election.
But the committee weathered far more losses than wins, with a 28% win record in its candidate picks overall, compared to a 67% loss record, according to Secretary of State records.
The remaining percentage represents an ongoing race.
The group gave Libertarian candidate Misty Morris $500. Morris’s race against Rep. Clark Stith, R-Rock Springs, has not yet been decided, as Libertarians and Republicans will face each other in the general election Nov. 8.
Jaggi did not respond immediately to a voicemail requesting comment.
The Ones Who Won Anyway
Some established incumbents who won despite the group’s contributions toward their opponents include Republican Representatives Bob Nicholas, Albert Sommers, and Dan Zwonitzer; and Senators Wendy Schuler and Cale Case.
The group also contributed to races not featuring incumbents, such as the House District 39 primary race between Vladimir Allred and Ryan C. Berger, in Evanston. Records show that the Jaggi PAC backed Allred, but Berger won the nomination.
Just For You
Meier in his personal capacity also gave directly to candidates and their campaign committees. Unlike his donations to the Allen Jaggi PAC, Meier’s direct donations sponsored more wins than losses for a 4-3 record.
This brings Meier’s overall candidate sponsorship record to a 32% success rate.
According to Secretary of State campaign finance records, Meier gave legislative candidate donations as follows:
$500 to Bill Allemand, (win),
$1,000 to Rick Coppinger (loss),
$1,000 to Bob Ide’s campaign committee (win),
$1,000 to Cody candidate Nina Webber’s campaign group (loss),
$200 to Cheyenne candidate Daniel Singh’s group (win),
$100 to Rock Springs candidate Joshua Larson’s committee (win),
$500 to Sheridan candidate Bryan Miller (loss)
The donations to Allemand, Coppinger, and Ide were in addition to the donations granted to them through the Allen Jaggi PAC using Meier’s money, records show.
Court Costs After Libel Suit
Meier split $11,000 between two more political action groups, with $5,000 to Wyoming Is Right PAC and $6,000 to Patriot Conservatives of Wyoming, records show.
Patriot Conservatives of Wyoming then spent $9,142,89, which is more than a third of its $25,023 in reported expenses, on court costs. The group was ordered to pay court costs in Johnson County Court following a failed lawsuit for libel against the Buffalo Bulletin newspaper, group chairman David Iverson told Cowboy State Daily on Friday.
The rest of the group’s expenditures went to printing, postage, advertising, food and beverages, according to its spending reports.
Hosting fundraisers and sending mailers is the group’s preferred campaign strategy, said Iverson.
“Our PAC focuses on an effective ground game,” he said. “Direct mailing of information about candidates.”
Iverson said the group’s priority is to get conservative individuals elected to office.
The Wyoming is Right PAC also spent its money on mailers, advertising, and banquets, records show.
Iverson said he did not see any issue with Meier’s financial involvement in his peers’ campaigns.
“It’s freedom of speech,” said Iverson. “Individuals can contribute to whatever political cause they want to.”