CASPER — Susan Gore, a wealthy conservative donor and founder of the Wyoming Liberty Group, broke her silence Monday regarding accusations she funded a political spying operation, stating the allegations amounted to “disinformation.”
“This is much ado about nothing — like a hamburger that makes your mouth water, but when you pick it up for a bite, you discover that the bun is empty,” she wrote in a statement. “It’s a nothingburger.”
In late June, The New York Times reported that two conservative operatives, Sofi a LaRocca and Beau Maier, posed as progressive donors to infiltrate Wyoming’s liberal and moderate Republican circles and gather information.
The article stated Gore, an heiress to the Gore-Tex fortune, funded the effort.
After the New York Times article was published, two state lawmakers and one former representative told the Star-Tribune they were subjects of the spying operation.
Gore did not comment to the New York Times.
But on Monday, she released a statement titled “New York Journalists Sow DISINFORMATION in Wyoming.”
The release did not address specific aspects of the story. Instead, it denied that there was any truth to the reporting.
Gore called the New York Times article a “hit piece” and claimed that “the content was unfamiliar to [her].”
“This attempted character assassination targeted me and also affected my friends, family and colleagues,” Gore said in her statement. “Malice invaded the climate of civil discourse in Wyoming.”
Gore founded the Wyoming Liberty Group, a political advocacy organization with conservative and libertarian leanings, in 2008.
In recent years, she has become a donor to far-right conservative and libertarian candidates and groups. In her statement, Gore likened the allegations about the spying operation to propaganda.
“Truth is irrelevant, no problem,” she wrote. “Bits of facts, real or fabricated, are taken out of context and inserted into a script that serves the purpose of the propagandist. Then the story is broadcast by an ‘authoritative’ source such as New York journalists.”
State Democratic Party leaders, Wyoming Speaker of the House Eric Barlow, R-Gillette, Rep. Karlee Provenza, D-Laramie, and her husband Nate Martin, executive director of progressive group Better Wyoming, were all among those targeted by the conservative spies, the New York Times reported.
“They pretended to be our friends,” Provenza told the Star-Tribune last month. “They stuck around for a long time. I had conversations with these people for over a year.”
Although the press release provided contact information, neither Gore nor Gore’s assistant responded Monday to request for comment.
Still, it’s clear Gore is showing zero signs of backing down so far.
“I am here to stay. I will continue to back good policy that protects the spirit of Wyoming and the intentions of Wyoming’s people,” her statement said. “God knows we need truth, not lies!”