Tierna Unruh-Enos is publisher at The Paper.

Cowboys for Trump, Facebook


It seems to be the end of the road for the Cowboys for Trump donor disclosure fight. On Tuesday, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a federal judge’s dismissal of the case.

“Plaintiffs alleged that they had not made and would not make any independent expenditures that would trigger the reporting or disclaimer requirements in support of candidates,” U.S. Circuit Chief Judge Timothy Tymkovich wrote in the 18-page opinion.

Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin registered Cowboys for Trump as a limited liability corporation to collect donations as he advocated for then-president Donald Trump’s policies like the border wall and antiabortion policies. He also traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with the former president.

In 2019, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver ordered Cowboys for Trump to register as a political action committee or face a $7,800 fine. Griffin compared its plight in new court filings to the travails of the NAACP during the civil rights movement as Alabama sought unsuccessfully for disclosure of names and local addresses for members of the nation’s oldest civil rights group. Judge Tymkovich disagreed and said that “neither Plaintiffs nor their donors would suffer any injury in fact. Therefore Plaintiffs lacked constitutional standing to assert either their own First Amendment rights or those of their donors.”

Cowboys for Trump sued New Mexico in June 2020 challenging state reporting, disclosure and disclaimer provisions in the New Mexico Campaign Reporting Act.

Griffin’s legal troubles with C4T donations don’t stop there. In February of last year, the Attorney General’s office served Griffin a warrant claiming Griffin used his public, elected position to benefit him personally and used C4T funds for personal use to the tune of $30,000.

Griffin is also scheduled for a bench trial on March 21, for his role in the January 6 Capitol riot.