Political Event in Government Building in Casper
An event scheduled for Thursday night has drawn some questions and some controversy.
The screening of a film about one of the people involved in the 2016 armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon will be screened tonight.
The film is about LaVoy Finicum, one of the militia members who was shot and killed by Oregon State Patrol officers as he reached for a gun after a traffic stop.
The questions are not about the film or the groups sponsoring it, including the Wyoming Republican Party, but about the venue. It was scheduled to be shown in the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Building on King Boulevard in Casper.
K2 Radio News had questions about whether a government building should be used for partisan political events. This screening is sponsored by the State GOP, the Wyoming Campaign for Liberty and the Natrona County Campaign for Liberty.
Calls were made to the Governor's office, the Agency Director Mark Watson and the head of the Natrona County GOP, Dr. Joseph McGinley.
Watson called us back and said the building has been available for non-political events but that practice will end at the end of the year.
When asked about the fact that the film is political in nature, and the sponsors include the Wyoming GOP, Watson said he hadn't known the party was involved. He said his understanding was that the main sponsors were the Wyoming Liberty Group and the local chair Cathy Ide assured him they were not a political organization. Watson said the Liberty Group has held regular monthly meetings in the building.
The event sponsors listed on the Wyoming Republican Party's Facebook page are the party, the Wyoming Campaign for Liberty and the Natrona County Campaign for Liberty, all of whom would appear to be political in nature.
The Governor's spokesperson Chris Mickey agreed that the event sounded very political and referred us to Dean Fausett of the Administration and Information Department. His office also agreed that the rule is generally no partisan events as the state does not want to be seen as endorsing any particular group or issue.
At the time of this article being posted, we had also not heard from local GOP Chair Joseph McGinley about whether the party supports the film's point of view.