JACKSON, Wyo. — House District 23 candidate Paul Vogelheim has returned a $10,000 campaign contribution that allegedly violated the Wyoming campaign finance laws.

Yesterday, Oct. 17, the Wyoming Democratic Party filed a complaint with the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office about the contribution, made on July 19, by Barbara Carlsberg, Vogelheim’s mother-in-law.

According to the complaint, “this contribution is in excess of the campaign limits set forth in W.S. 22-25-102(c)(ii)(A). Ms. Carlsberg does not fall under the “Immediate Family” exception. W.S. 22-1-102 (xxxvii) defines Immediate Family as “a spouse, parent, sibling, or other person living in the individual’s household.” W.S. 14-2-308(a)(vii) defines Parent as “a natural parent or a parent by adoption.” Ms. Carlsberg is not a parent of Mr. Vogelheim, nor does she reside in Mr. Vogelheim’s household.”

Vogelheim commented on the situation via email.

“Barbara Carlsberg, my mother-in-law, donated $10,000 to my campaign back in July. I recorded the donation as family in my August filing and was not aware of any issues until the Teton County Democratic party filed a complaint. My team and I reached out to the Secretary of State’s office as soon as we were notified and let them know that I have returned her donation.”

David Martin, communications director for the Wyoming Democratic Party spoke to Buckrail this morning about the complaint. Martin said the violation was discovered when they were looking at campaign contribution filings, a routine practice.

“We are not really alleging any wrongdoing or nefarious acts by the candidate,” Martin said.  “We are just saying, hey this is something that popped up on our radar and we are concerned about it because it does not jive with rules in place.”

Vogelheim’s wife passed away in April 2019.

“My family’s heartbreak and loss is not political fodder for anyone.  Please respect how painful Becky’s passing has been — and respect that Barbara and I together immediately and wholeheartedly encircled our family. I proudly call Barbara, Mom.  We share our grief and love for my amazing wife, Rebecca Carlsberg Vogelheim — and Barbara and I have banded together to support Becky’s girls.  Families who have seen cancer take daughters, wives or mothers…they can understand,” Vogelheim said in the statement.  

Vogelheim is running against Democrat Liz Storer for the House District 23 seat, previously held by Andy Schwartz.

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.