Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving -- and More about Trash Burner Bob Stump's Text Messages

In the wake of a court ruling in the lawsuit brought by Checks and Balances Project to compel disclosure of Corporation Commissioner Bob Stump's text messages, Stump reportedly still insists he did nothing wrong. At issue is the question of whether Stump improperly communicated with independent expenditure funders as well as officials of Arizona Public Service during the 2014 election for two seats on the Corporation Commission.

On Wednesday, Scott Peterson (C&BP exec. director) told the Arizona Eagletarian,
"Bob Stump has forgotten what the metadata disclosed. He's essentially betting his career that the text messages will disprove what metadata has shown."
On Wednesday, Capitol Media Services (Howie Fischer) reported that Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Randall Warner ordered review of Stump's text messages -- which Checks and Balances Project has been demanding be disclosed since last winter -- by former Judge David Cole.
Judge Randall Warner named former judge David Cole to review what was recovered from an examination of the utility regulator’s state-issued phone by the Attorney General’s Office. Cole is now free to review what the prosecutor’s office was able to reconstruct of long-deleted messages.
That list of messages includes communications with Republican candidates, the head of an organization that spent more than $300,000 from unnamed sources to get them nominated, and the executive of a utility that may have helped fund that effort.
But it has yet to be determined how many of the messages Cole determines are public will see the light of day.
“If corporation commissioner Stump has any claim that they’re privileged or that they’re somehow private, or something like that, they would assert that,” said Dan Barr. He is the attorney for the Checks and Balances Project which filed suit for the texts earlier this year.
At that point, it would be up to Warner to decide who is correct.
Because the phone and the messages are currently in the custody of the Arizona Attorney General's office, the report says the timing of said review is still up in the air. The bottom line, for the moment, is that the court has thus far granted what C&BP proposed months ago, as far as an independent review by a retired judge.

An intriguing aside, on Fischer's story, posted at the Arizona Capitol Times website, the following comment is attached,
"And Stump insisted there was no way to retrieve the texts as he had discarded the state-issued phone he was using at the time, a move he has since admitted was a mistake.”
Get it straight, Howard Fischer. It was not just a “mistake” as Stump contends, nor was it a simple “discard” as you contend. Stump destroyed State property. And so far there has been absolutely NO consequences to Stump for his action.
Who else among us gets to destroy State property with impunity? I have repeatedly asked our sleeping AG for a list of State property that I and others may destroy with impunity. So far, I have not gotten a response.
The name on the comment is Warren Woodward, who the Arizona Republic calls a frequent critic of the commission.

By the way, even though Checks and Balances Project has functioned as a de facto investigative journalism organization in the Stump situation, Stump and ACC chair Susan Bitter Smith both have taken to claiming that the Project is "a dark money organization." In stark contrast, Peterson insists that C&BP does not engage in any form of electioneering and in every blog post to its website states,
Checks and Balances Project is "a national watchdog blog that seeks to hold government officials, lobbyists, and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP comes from pro-clean energy philanthropies and donors."
Is it any wonder that crony capitalists in the most corrupt state government in the country claim that C&BP harasses them? Holding government officials accountable is such a wonderful thing, isn't it?

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