Political spectrum

Sublette Examiner | Two “spies” infiltrate Wyoming political spectrum

WYOMING – A secret plot infiltrates the Wyoming Democratic Party and obtains damaging information about liberal groups, Governor Mark Gordon and several state lawmakers – including the Speaker of the House – by two individuals, linked to some of the most wealthiest in the country, was discovered in a New York Times article last week.

It was discovered that a couple identified as Beau Maier and Sofia LaRocca were part of an undercover operation carried out by numerous conservative groups to infiltrate progressive groups, political campaigns and political offices. Large campaign donations and cover stories were used in an attempt to rise through the ranks within the Wyoming Democratic Party in an attempt to pick up political dirt in order to sabotage the reputation of those who run for president. then, Donald Trump, during the 2020 election cycle.

The Wyoming Democratic Party, chaired by Joe M. Barbuto, held a brief press call on the afternoon of June 25 – the day the article was published – to address the situation.

Barbuto said the Wyoming Democratic Party received reports that the group was being targeted by these two after the relationship with Maier and LaRocca ended.

“But we immediately implemented a review of the information Sofia LaRocca had access to and determined that our volunteering process had done its job and that there was nothing that could be considered sensitive or classified,” Barbuto said. . “As volunteers, LaRocca and Maier performed tasks such as setting up chairs, working at check-in tables, and attending events open to the public. Neither has demonstrated the political skills or knowledge necessary to achieve a higher position in the Wyoming Democratic Party. “

LaRocca said on the cover that she has a passion and background in fundraising. Barbuto said the Party gave him the opportunity to fundraise as an independent entrepreneur, while maintaining some distance because the group did not believe in his coverage.

Barbuto said she didn’t raise a dime for the Wyoming Democratic Party.

According to the New York Times, Maier and LaRocca were both linked to former spy Richard Seddon through a joint address in Cody. There are also links between Richard Seddon and Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater who owns a house near Cody, as Prince had previously hired Seddon to train Conservative activists, as previously reported in The Times. Sources also said at the time that Seddon secured funding for these operations through Tex-Gore heiress Susan Gore.

Seddon is also associated with groups like Project Veritas.Tex-Gore has since publicly announced that it does not tolerate these actions.

Documents show Maier is from Cody and her mother is a cook at Prince’s ranch near Cody. Maier and LaRocca were together at the time of the dates in question and are now married.

Among those targeted by LaRocca and Maier were Wyoming groups and elected officials. Better Wyoming was one of the targets. Better Wyoming confirmed that agents attended events for the organization between October 2019 and September 2020, and donated thousands of dollars. The staff and associates of the best Wyoming were secretly registered by the duo during this time.

Nate Martin, executive director of Better Wyoming, objected to the duo’s ties to the Wyoming Liberty Group and its founder, Susan Gore.

“The use of spies is pretty widespread, but so are many of the Wyoming Liberty Group ideas,” Martin said. “Wyoming’s far-right promotes foil-hat conspiracy theories like ‘Medicaid expansion causes abortion’ and ‘cannabis is ruining the child care industry.’ It makes sense that they would use spies in an attempt to attack their opposition or uncover an imaginary liberal plot. “

The question was raised during the Wyoming Democratic Party’s press appeal for why to choose Wyoming, which is the most trusted Tory-Voting state in the country.

“We know the organization was based in Wyoming – in Wapiti, near Cody,” Barbuto said. “It could be some kind of pilot or training for these officers that they will send to other states. Perhaps we are a springboard to other state parties or the national party, or progressive and liberal organizations. But at this time, there’s really no concrete reason why we know they were in Wyoming other than that is where the organization was headquartered.

The duo have sought compromising information on Rep. Eric Balow, now Speaker of the House, due to his openness to marijuana laws – an issue the heiress strongly opposes. The pair have also targeted Governor Mark Gordon, whom conservative groups linked to the pair have deemed too moderate.

Another person targeted by the couple was State Representative Karlee Provenza de Laramie. She published an open letter to her colleagues after the New York Times published the story – about three weeks after she was interviewed for it.

In her letter, Provenza said she met the couple at a dinner party in November 2019. At that time, Maier said he was a Cody-born veteran with a passion for cannabis reform and that LaRocca was eager to learn more about Wyoming politics. Provenza said she and her husband were worried but wanted to be inclusive. They met periodically afterwards.

“I look back on those conversations through a lens of rage,” she wrote. “Rage because I now know that they entered my home under false pretenses to target me and my family.” Rage because they tried to make me and my husband say or do something shameful so that they could use it to hurt us. Rage because they used the same tactics against some of our most honorable colleagues here in the Legislature.

Provenza said the couple, as well as whoever hired them, “have dishonored the integrity of the state of Wyoming, the rooms we serve and the relationships we have established with each other.”

She ended by addressing her colleagues, as well as the citizens of Wyoming.

“We have a collective decision to make now as to whether we will accept this kind of behavior, these deceptive and twisted tactics, or whether we will decide as a body that they have no place among honest debate and character. Honorable Member of the Wyoming State Legislature. . “

Neither the governor’s office nor the Wyoming legislature released a statement before the press deadline.

* CORRECTION: A previous version of this story listed Project Veritas as a group of white supremacists. This has not been confirmed by the groups that designate such lists, and is therefore false. In light of this, the reviewer recanted and posted this correction.


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