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Transparency: Lawmakers outline financial holdings

Wyoming’s five statewide elected officials and all 90 legislators each year file forms disclosing their financial ties, allowing voters to watch for conflicts between their personal interests and the public interest.

While the documents are public record, they are not available online and have to be requested from the Secretary of State’s office. For the second year in a row, WyoFile has obtained all 95 forms through a records request, and has published them below in a searchable format.

Last year, WyoFile reported that the most striking feature of the documents is how little they disclose. If legislators receive income from investments, real estate or royalties, they check a box saying so, but there is no information about what those investments could be. “They’re not incredibly helpful to my knowledge,” Kai Schon, the election director for the Secretary of State, said of the forms last year.

Wyoming statute leaves it up to legislators and officials themselves to discern when they may have a conflict of interest.

“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,” reads Article 3, Section 46 of the Wyoming State Constitution.

In 1997, the Wyoming Attorney General’s office was asked to issue a public opinion on what type of interest represents a personal conflict for a legislator — the most recently available official state opinion on the subject.

The office, then under the direction of now Wyoming Supreme Court Justice William U. Hill, wrote that “conflicts of interest are typically subtle, and no one definition will always answer the question of whether a conflict exists.” Even when a specific conflict may not exist, the office warned lawmakers against creating the “appearance of impropriety.”

“The appearance of impropriety may in turn serve to undermine the public’s confidence in the integrity of the government,” the opinion read.

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Search the documents below for the form filed by your elected representatives or the other five elected officials.

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About the Author

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Andrew Graham is reporting for WyoFile from Laramie. He covers state government, energy and the economy. Reach him at 443-848-8756 or at [email protected], follow him @AndrewGraham88

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