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Reports on Wyoming State Government Activity

Top donors to Wyoming Republican PACs gave thousands in 2023

An ornate building on a clear day.
Chris Clements
/
Wyoming Public Media
The Wyoming State Capitol building in Cheyenne on Feb. 22, 2024.

As election season heats up in Wyoming, the far-right House Freedom Caucus and traditionally-conservative Wyoming Caucus are using new political action committees (PACs) to raise funds.

PACs are tax-exempt groups that collect money from donors to fund campaigns and legislative initiatives.

In 2023, the largest individual donor to the Wyoming Caucus’s PAC was Jessica Case. She’s a board trustee for Park County School District 6 in Cody who donated $20,000 to the more-moderate Republican PAC.

“I was concerned about people advocating for national agendas instead of local issues,” said Case, who added that she donated as an individual, not as a representative of the board. “I really wanted to strengthen this political action committee that seemed to be a voice for civility and working together.”

The House Freedom Caucus’s PAC had two donors tie for the largest contribution last year: $10,000 each.

One was from the philanthropy arm of businessman and entrepreneur Jay Kemmerer.

He hosted a fundraiser for the national House Freedom Caucus in 2021, and recently sold Jackson Hole Mountain Resort for an undisclosed sum.

The other donor was former commodities trader Dan Brophy of Wilson.

In 2014, Brophy and his wife successfully sued Wyoming’s Secretary of State to remove an aggregate limit on how much individuals can spend among campaigns for state office.

He also wrote an op-ed for Cowboy State Daily encouraging Wyoming’s federal representatives to not recognize the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Brophy did not respond to repeated requests for comment on his motivations for giving, while managers of the John L. Kemmerer III trust declined to discuss his donation with Wyoming Public Radio.

This reporting was made possible by a grant from the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, supporting state government coverage in the state. Wyoming Public Media and Jackson Hole Community Radio are partnering to cover state issues both on air and online.

Chris Clements is a state government reporter and digital media specialist for Wyoming Public Media based in Laramie. He came to WPM from KSJD Radio in Cortez, Colorado, where he reported on Indigenous affairs, drought, and local politics in the Four Corners region. Before that, he graduated with a degree in English (Creative Writing) from Arizona State University. Chris's news stories have been featured on KUNC, NPR newscasts, and National Native News, among others.

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