Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sue Wallis Legal Woes Come Home To Roost

Straight from the Horse's Heart

from the Pages of Wyoming’s Gillette News Record

From Fraud, Ethics to Battery, Wallis is in Trouble

Rep. Sue Wallis under investigation ~ Photo by Pam Nicholes

Campbell County prosecutors have launched an investigation into whether state lawmaker Sue Wallis has abused her power by promoting horse-slaughter legislation.

The probe stems from an ethics complaint filed last month by an animal-rights advocate from Cody.

In the complaint, Patricia Fazio alleges that Wallis, a Campbell County Republican, has sponsored and voted on bills in which she has had a financial interest and tried to defraud supporters out of $30,000 in a bogus raffle. Wallis has denied any wrongdoing, calling the accusations “laughable.”

Fazio has called for a thorough investigation. Campbell County Attorney Jeani Stone said her office is handling the probe and has asked the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office to look into the allegations. It’s unclear how soon a decision from local authorities will come.

The case was turned over to Campbell County prosecutors after the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office determined that the complaint fell outside its jurisdiction.

Ed Buchanan, the incoming speaker of the House, said he only has seen parts of the complaint. He expects lawmakers to take up the matter when the Legislature convenes later this month.

The 14-page ethics complaint centers on:

- CONFLICT OF INTEREST: Fazio says Wallis has been on a crusade to legalize horse slaughter for human consumption. She says the lawmaker has profited from this legislation because Wallis is involved in an animal-processing company and several lobbying groups that promote horse-slaughter interests.

Wallis has said she is not paid for her work with nonprofits like the United Organizations of the Horse and United Horsemen. She also wasn’t paid for helping Unified Equine LLC, an animal-processing company, get off the ground.

Wallis said her legislation was meant to restore “humane and regulated” animal processing. Too many unusable horses, she says, are being abandoned in the wild where they starve to death or are killed by coyotes. She says these animals cannot be given away because many horse rescues already are full.

- FRAUD: Fazio also says Wallis sold $30,000 in raffle tickets for a new pickup, then later wrote a letter saying she didn’t have enough money to buy the pickup.

Fazio says Wallis asked supporters if she could keep the proceeds as a donation. Wallis has denied the accusation, saying the pickup will be raffled off this week at a summit in Las Vegas.

SFTHH Notes:

Click (HERE) for actual press release on Ethics and Fraud allegations

Click (HERE) to view actual complaint

Click (HERE) to encourage Wyoming authorities to investigate complaint

Click (HERE) to read SFTHH report on Wallis battery allegation and (HERE) for Horseback Magazine Coverage

A year late the Dodge truck was awarded to a personal friend of organizer Dave Duquette

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