Wyoming State Rep. Says No Truth To Ethics Complaint

State Rep. Jon Conrad said of an ethics complaint against him that there is nothing to the complaint and it is politically motivated.

Leo Wolfson

February 09, 20235 min read

An ethics complaint was filed Wednesday afternoon against state Rep. Jon Conrad, R-Mountain View, alleging that his status as a registered lobbyist in Wyoming, along with his occupation and source of campaign donations creates a conflict of interest for the lawmaker.

Cody resident Vince Vanata delivered the three-page complaint to the Wyoming Legislative Services Office at the state Capitol in Cheyenne, which he said confirmed receipt. Copies also were sent to Speaker of the House Albert Sommers, LSO Director Matt Obrecht and the other leaders of the House.

Conrad told Cowboy State Daily there’s nothing to the complaint and that it’s politically motivated.

“This allegation’s straw-graspings are transparent in and of themselves,” he said.


According to filings with the Secretary of State’s office, Conrad is an active registered lobbyist for TATA Chemicals in Green River. He’s also an Environmental, Health, Safety and Governmental Affairs Manager for TATA.

“This gives the impression of an intentional concealment given the lobbyist/employer/employee relationship,” Vanata claims in his complaint.

Conrad is a member of the House Business, Minerals, and Economic Development and Agriculture, State and Public Lands & Water Resources Committees. He said he told legislators about his status as a lobbyist long before taking office.

“Before filing in May 2022 to run for office, I had the opportunity to visit with citizen legislators about several issues important to the thousands of hard-working families in Southwest Wyoming,” Conrad said. “Out of my dedication to transparency throughout 2022 that the registration was made — by the book, transparent through and through.”

Legislators are typically placed on committees that relate to fields they’ve worked in or have a particular knowledge for. There aren’t explicit rules against serving as a lobbyist while being a legislator. 

According to his legislative biography, Conrad also is chairman for the Wyoming Mining Association’s Regulatory Affairs Committee and is the chairman of the Environmental Affairs Committee of the Essential Minerals Association. The Wyoming Mining Association donated $4,500 to his House District 19 campaign in 2022.


Vanata told Cowboy State Daily it’s not one of these single aspects alone, but the combination of all that leads him believe Conrad has a conflict.

“Transparency and high ethical standards should be the hallmark of an elected legislator,” Vanata wrote. “Yet, in this circumstance, we see an elected official who is not only an active paid lobbyist for the company he works for, but actively involved in organizations who contributed to his campaign, and who can benefit from his position on committees to which he has been assigned.”

Vanata’s complaint alleges that Conrad could benefit personally because of the committees he serves on and by being a paid lobbyist. 

Conrad told Cowboy State Daily he has not acted as a lobbyist in any way since taking office.

“Instead, I have served the people of this great state,” he said.

Conflict of Interest?

Article 3, Section 46 of the Wyoming Constitution states that within the Legislature, “A member who has a personal or private interest in any measure or bill proposed or pending before the Legislature shall disclose the fact to the house of which he is a member and shall not vote thereon.”

Conrad has not abstained from any of the five minerals-related bills he voted on in the Minerals Committee. 

Because of this, “Rep. Conrad is in direct conflict with the issues, bills and potential statutes he is required to discuss, debate and vote upon,” Vanata wrote.

Vanata requests House Speaker Rep. Albert Sommers, R-Pinedale, to remove Conrad from his committees and appoint an investigative committee to look into his alleged conflicts of interest. 

He said he has no issue with Sommers unless it can be proven the speaker knew of Conrad’s alleged conflict when appointing him to committees.

“Then, the Speaker should have put him on different committees,” Vanata said.

For his part, Sommers told Cowboy State Daily last week that, in general, he wouldn’t comment on any ethics complaints should they be leveled. 

Vanata is a state committeeman with the Park County Republican Party, but said he made his complaint as a private person, not on behalf of his county’s GOP. 

What’s Next?

The Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Rules of the House and Senate addresses ethics complaints in Rule 22. 

Sommers, after consultation with the majority and minority floor leaders, can dismiss a complaint if it’s deemed frivolous or was submitted for an improper purpose. 

If not, it must be forwarded to the appropriate subcommittee of the Management Council to determine if there’s cause for a formal investigation.

This process was initiated last year over allegations of misconduct by state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne. Although a finding of cause was determined, no formal investigation happened.

Conrad also is involved in a Wyoming Supreme Court case against the Uinta County GOP and its leadership. 

The county party decided its local rules allow leadership to decide who can vote for future county party leaders, which is in conflict with state laws. 

Oral arguments in the case were heard Wednesday.

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter