Rep. Chuck Gray, a Republican Wyoming Secretary of State candidate who previously ran for Congress, denounced a former Secretary State’s request to the Federal Elections Commission to look at how he could loan his campaign 30 times more than his annual income.
“This false, defamatory, frivolous filing by Mr. Maxfield is just a liberal insider who has endorsed Tara and is trying to get Tara Nethercott elected working with the dishonest media to distract from Nethercott’s record. The campaign’s FEC filings are correct,” Gray said Wednesday in a statement to K2Radio.com. Gray represents House District 57 in central Casper.
Former Wyoming Secretary of State Max Maxfield served in that position from 2007 to 2015. Before that, he was State Auditor from 1999 to 2007.
Sen. Tara Nethercott, R-Laramie County, is Gray’s major opponent in the Aug. 16 Republican Party primary for Secretary of State, The other GOP candidate is Mark Armstrong of Centennial.
On Tuesday, Maxfield sent an enforcement complaint to the Office of General Counsel of the Federal Election Commission about Gray’s financial disclosures when he ran for U.S. “It concerns me that an individual that only reports an annual income of roughly $10,000 per year somehow has the financial capacity to loan his campaign $300,000,” he wrote in the cover letter of the complaint.
Recalling his elections oversight responsibilities while he was Secretary of State, Maxfield added, “In my experience, the known facts do not add up. It is apparent to me that there are additional facts that must be discovered. I am asking the FEC to uncover those facts.”
The data he cited are found on fec.gov. K2 Radio reviewed and confirmed that data independently from what was contained in Maxfield’s letter.
Gray was a candidate for U.S. House of Representatives until he suspended it after former President Donald Trump threw his support behind Harriet Hageman. In a statement, he said Republicans needed to “unite to defeat Liz Cheney.”
At the time, Gray had raised $394,333 with most of that from his own money, according to FEC filings.
Maxfield questioned part of that.
“This Complaint is filed under 52 U.S.C. 30109(a)(1) and is based on information that Mr. Gray illegally received donations from an individual and recorded it as a personal loan to his campaign in violation of straw donor laws and violated the Federal election Campaign Act….,” he wrote.
Maxfield recapped Gray’s financial disclosures, writing that Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting in 2021 paid him $3,500 and that as a legislator he had an income of $5,804.25 from the state for a total of $9,304.25.
In 2022, Maxfield wrote Gray had an income of $4,500 from Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting and $6,648.75 from the state for a total of $11,148.75.
In that report, Gray identified some other assets with only one — a mutual fund — providing unearned investment income equal to $5,000 to $15,000 for 2021 and 2022.
Meanwhile, Gray filed campaign finance reports with the FEC that said he gave his campaign a loan of $298,318 from his personal accounts to his campaign, Maxfield wrote. (These FEC reports listed 11 loans, with the major ones being $125,000 on March 31, 2021, and $165,000 on June 30, 2021. The total cited by Maxfield is still correct.)
“On its face, a loan of $298,318 is not plausible based on an annual income of $15,000/year. In addition, a loan of $298,318 is more than all the combined assets listed by Mr. Gray on his financial disclosure,” Maxfield wrote.
Beyond the implausibility of reported assets, reported income and the campaign loan, Maxfield wrote that Gray’s father, Jan Charles Gray, is the sole donor of hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Super PAC called Protect Wyoming Values PAC, set up solely to benefit Chuck Gray.
Jan Charles Gray is the owner of Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting, “the only non-government employment listed by Mr. Charles Gray,” Maxfield wrote.
“Upon information and belief, Jan Charles Gray and Charles Gray violated federal election law by filing campaign finance reports alleging that Charles Gray loaned his own campaign $298,318 when in fact the money was given to Charles Gray from his father,” he wrote.
Chuck Gray responded Nethercott has committed campaign violations by not posting a statement at the bottom of her signs that says “paid for by.”
It’s also about Maxfield supporting Nethercott “working with the dishonest media,” he said in the above statement.
Nethercott did not return requests for comment.
Wednesday, Gray echoed his two-sentence statement, saying Maxfield’s complaint was frivolous and defamatory, adding he has retained an attorney.
However, he declined to identify the attorney on the record.
Gray also declined to comment on anything that could exonerate him, adding the complaint is not worth a story.
Wyoming US House Republican Debate at Sheridan College
Liz Cheney took on the Trump-endorsed Harriet Hageman, as well as Anthony Bouchard and others in the Wyoming US House Republican Debate, which took place at Sheridan College in conjunction with Wyoming PBS.