Wyoming House Leaders: Allegations Against Wallis Unfounded

Leaders of the Wyoming House of Representatives have declared allegations of ethics violations stemming from a complaint filed by a Wyoming resident against State Representative Sue Wallis unfounded.

Wallis was the primary sponsor of HB 122, a measure allowing Wyoming livestock authorities to process abandoned horses and sell the meat. The measure also allows Wyoming livestock authorities to slaughter stray or feral livestock, including horses, and sell the meat to state institutions, nonprofit organizations, and private entities at cost. The bill became law in March 2010.

In a complaint submitted last year to Wyoming House Speaker Rep. Colin Simpson, Majority Floor Leader Rep. Edward Buchanan, and Minority Floor Leader W. Patrick Goggles, Wyoming resident Patricia M. Fazio alleged that Wallace violated state conflict of interest and disclosure laws because she was improperly using her position as a state lawmaker to promote and misrepresent horse processing development from which she may personally benefit. The complaint also called upon on Wyoming Attorney General Bruce A. Salzburg to investigate the allegations.

In a Feb. 4, 2011, memorandum to Fazio, current Wyoming House Speaker Rep. Buchanan, current Majority Floor Leader Tom Lubnau, and Goggles dismissed the complaint due to insufficient evidence.

"We find that the allegation in your complaint that Rep. Wallis might someday open a 'horse slaughterhouse' and thereby benefit from the legislation identified involves, at most, a speculative and remote personal interest," the memorandum said. "We further find that your allegation that Rep. Wallis will benefit from passage of the 'Food Freedom Act' ignores the fact that any such benefit would also be available to a substantial class of Wyoming citizens."

The complaint issued to Salzburg was investigated by the Campbell County Attorney's Office. Campbell County is located within Wallis' legislative district. In a Feb. 2, 2011, statement Campbell County and Prosecuting Attorney Jeani L. Slone said her office failed to find any substantial evidence of criminal activity that warranted further investigation within Campbell County jurisdiction.

In a written statement about the memorandum, Wallis said, "I am glad to have put this behind me."

Fazio told TheHorse.com that she is pursuing other complaints against the lawmaker.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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