Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

About Trash Burner Bob Stump...

Remember last month when Checks and Balances Project director Scott Peterson sent a public records request to the Arizona Corporation Commission seeking access to communications Trash Burner Bob Stump, Gary Pierce and/or current ACC chair Susan Bitter Smith or their staff had with Arizona Public Service and its parent, Pinnacle West Capital? The records request was dated March 2nd.

Since it's been about six weeks and Peterson had not heard from the ACC, he advised local media by email earlier today that his organization had begun preparations to sue for that access.
Checks and Balances Project Prepares to Sue Arizona Corporation Commission to Enforce Public Access to Records
Watchdog Seeks Commissioner Bob Stump’s Text Messages with APS Lobbyists, Executives about Customer Access to Low-Cost Solar
April 14, 2015 – Checks and Balances Project (C&BP) announced today that it has hired Dan Barr of Perkins-Coie to prepare a lawsuit to enforce public access to records of Commissioner Bob Stump of the Arizona Corporation Commission concerning his contacts with Arizona Public Service (APS) lobbyists and executives over customer access to low-cost solar. Barr informed the Commission today it must respond immediately or face a lawsuit. Such a lawsuit would be grounded in significant legal precedent under Arizona law.
“It’s been over a month now since the Checks and Balances Project submitted a request for Commissioner Bob Stump’s text messages and other records of his interactions with APS management and lobbyists regarding people’s access to low-cost solar energy,” said Scott Peterson, executive director of C&BP. “There’s no reason for the Commission to hide these records and a lawsuit is the last resort. But we’re telling the Commission today that if we have to take this to a judge, we’re ready to do so.”
Mr. Barr has more than 25 years of experience in the area of civil litigation involving constitutional, employment, media and political law issues. He has represented several news media organizations, including the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona.
About Checks and Balances Project
C&BP is a national public watchdog that seeks to shed light on the influence of corporate management and lobbyists on government officials who stand in the way of the growth of clean energy. In a number of states, utility commissioners are acting almost as consultants to the utilities they are charged with overseeing. The range of favoritism is wide – from casual remarks to open assistance to help a regulated utility shop for a favorable state judge. There seems to be an emerging trend, which is why C&BP is taking a systemic look to see what is going on in state public utility and state corporation commissions. To learn more, visit our website at checksandbalancesproject.org.

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Not long after the Checks and Balances Project issued the press advisory, Barr heard from a staff attorney at the Corp Comm. The agency claimed to have mailed a response on April 8 to the March 2 request, and then emailed a copy of the April 8 letter.





Bridget Humphrey, ACC staff attorney claims that much of the requested information is not available. Odds are, however, this is just a typical stonewall by a government agency that's about to have a very bright light shined on it. It will be interesting to see what corporate media reports on the matter, and to see how it all shakes out.

My hunch is that a whole lot of squirmin's going on and one or more corporation commissioners are quite uncomfortable about it.

In a sense, this is parallel to recent national news that Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez has been indicted for influence peddling in Congress. Corruption is corruption regardless of whether the influence is sold by Democrats or Republicans. More than anything, this is an indictment of Citizens United and McCutcheon. Since SCOTUS had indicated there was no proof that large campaign donations caused corruption, cases like this ultimately will document what social scientists have already researched and documented.

Since we're apparently not seeing much action from Republican AZ Atty. Gen.  Mark "I am not a crook" Brnovich on investigating obvious corruption in Arizona government, I'm hopeful that Peterson's organization can make some headway.

We also know that when citizens go to court in Arizona seeking access to government public records, things eventually open up.

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Today it is a case of the grasshopper pitted against the elephant. But tomorrow the elephant will have its guts ripped out. Le Loi, Vietnamese emperor, 15th Century.

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