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Dan Zwonitzer

House To Review Complaints Against Zwonitzer; Four Sue Seeking Proof Of Residency

in News/Legislature

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s House of Representatives is set to decide whether it will examine allegations that one of its members no longer lives in the district he represents and has been trying to redraw legislative district lines to encompass his new home.

Meanwhile, a lawsuit filed in state district court in Cheyenne on Friday asked the court to force Rep. Dan Zwonitzer, R-Cheyenne, to prove he lives within House District 43, the district he was elected to represent.

House Speaker Eric Barlow, R-Gillette, told other representatives Monday he will entertain motions during Tuesday’s floor work on the allegations against Zwonitzer, who has been a representative since 2005.

The action is the result of a request by the central committee for the Wyoming Republican Party, which in January adopted a resolution asking the secretary of state’s office to investigate whether Zwonitzer lives in the district he represents, House District 43, or has moved to House District 10, where he bought a home with his spouse.

The complaint was forwarded to the Legislature and its administrative arm, the Legislative Service Office. The LSO, in a memo to representatives, said while Wyoming’s Constitution requires a person to live in a district to be elected to represent it, it is silent on the issue of whether the person must continue living within that district to continue serving as its representative. While state law requires a person to live within the district he or she represents, the Wyoming Supreme Court has found the law is an improper addition to the qualifications for service spelled out in the Constitution, the LSO said.

Zwonitzer, in a response to the allegations sent to Barlow and in an interview with Cowboy State Daily, said while he has purchased a home outside of House District 43, he maintains a residence inside the district to continue his representation and to allow his youngest child to finish junior high school where he began.

“I have always believed and continue to fully believe after discussing with multiple attorneys and legislators that I am well within the law to maintain multiple properties and divide my time as I see fit in order to manage the responsibilities and duties of my daily life,” he said in his letter to Barlow.

The allegations were brought to the central committee in January by Joey Correnti IV, chairman of the Carbon County Republican Party. During the committee’s meeting, Zwonitzer, chair of the House Corporations Committee, was also accused of trying to draw new legislative district boundaries that would expand House District 43 to include his new home.

The Corporations Committee has been involved in developing the state’s new redistricting plan, a process of redrawing House and Senate district boundaries based on the most recent census results so that each district contains as nearly an even number of voters as possible.

Zwonitzer told Cowboy State Daily he has done his best to keep his personal feelings separate from his work on redistricting.

Barlow sent the latest version of the redistricting plan to the House Education Committee for review rather than the Corporations Committee.

“As there is an obvious nexus between (the redistricting bill) and resolving the issue previously discussed, I have made the decision to refer the redistricting bill to the Education Committee for consideration Monday upon adjournment,” he wrote in his memo to representatives.

Barlow said the issues to be examined by representatives include whether Zwonitzer is qualified to continue serving in the House based on his residence, his role in creating redistricting plans, and whether he acted illegally as a legislator, if he is not qualified to serve.

The issue of Zwonitzer’s residency is also central to the lawsuit filed Friday by Laramie County residents Eric Crosby, Sherry Crosby, Lynne Robin Goodspeed and Kathryn Kij.

Sherry Crosby is a precinct commmitteewoman in House District 43 and in the lawsuit, she said her husband Eric, while helping her prepare for the Laramie County Precinct Caucus, noted Zwonitzer had registered to vote in an area he did not believe Zwonitzer lived in.

“He noted that (Zwonitzer’s) address as officially recorded for the November 2021 bond election could not correspond to his actual residential address per recent media interviews by (Zwonitzer),” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit accused Zwonitzer of committing voter fraud.

The lawsuit asked the court to force Zwonitzer to provide proof that he lived within House District 43 at the time of the bond election and “an order for the disclosure of Zwonitzer’s present domicile as well as his ownership of or interest in all real property within Laramie County during the calendar year of 2021 to the present.”

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State GOP Wants Investigation Into Legitimacy of Rep. Dan Zwonitzer

in News/Legislature

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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.”

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