Washington, D.C. June 22, 2022 –The complaint alleges that mystery donors used a shell company called “Snow Goose, LLC” to secretly provide $50,000 to Wyoming Values, a super PAC. Spending by Wyoming Values has exclusively targeted the Republican primary for Wyoming’s sole House District.
Today, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that “Snow Goose, LLC,” and any unknown person(s) who made contributions to the super PAC Wyoming Values in the name of Snow Goose, LLC, violated federal campaign finance laws and deprived voters of information essential to a transparent political process.
The complaint (linked here) alleges that Snow Goose was not the true source of a $50,000 contribution made in its name to Wyoming Values and that there is reason to believe that one or more unknown persons created, operated and/or made contributions to Snow Goose in order to fund Wyoming Values without disclosing their identities.
Such a scheme would violate the “straw donor” ban in the Federal Election Campaign Act, which forbids any person from making contributions in the name of another and also bars candidates and committees — including super PACs — from knowingly accepting any such contribution.
“Shell companies like Snow Goose, LLC are one of the ways special interests funnel secret spending (also known as dark money) to super PACs and conceal the true contributor’s identity. Voters have a right to know who is spending that money and attempting to rig the system in their favor,” said Saurav Ghosh, director of federal reform at Campaign Legal Center. “Real transparency about the true sources of this type of spending will mean more government accountability and less political corruption.”
Public records show that Snow Goose was organized in Wyoming as a domestic limited liability company (LLC) in December 2021, and that Wyoming Values received a $50,000 contribution in Snow Goose’s name just two months later in February 2022. Snow Goose has no known business operations, investments, assets or commercial ventures from which it might have generated sufficient income to make that contribution absent an infusion of funds provided for that purpose by an outside source, which federal law prohibits.
This information supports finding reason to believe that Snow Goose was not the true source of the $50,000 contribution to Wyoming Values, which has devoted the entirety of its spending to opposing Rep. Liz Cheney and supporting Harriet Hageman, one of her opponents in the GOP primary. Cheney is currently in the spotlight as the vice chair of the House Committee investigating the January 6th attack on our country. Hageman, by contrast, has been endorsed by former president Donald Trump and has vocally criticized the committee’s ongoing public hearings.
Straw donor contributions like those alleged here extend beyond Wyoming and beyond this election cycle. Such schemes involve serious violations of federal campaign finance law that have led to criminal indictments and convictions in recent years. To reduce political corruption, we need real transparency to ensure that politicians can no longer benefit from unlimited secret money from wealthy special interests to support their campaigns, and the FEC must take action.