Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Friday, January 22, 2016

Will Trash Burner Bob Stump get the last laugh?

This week, retired Superior Court Judge David Cole issued a two-paragraph report summarizing his findings after reading text messages from the phone(s) Corporation Commissioner (Trash Burner) Bob Stump illegally destroyed. It reads,
By order dated December 1, 2015 Judge Randall H. Warner appointed the undersigned as master in this cause. The order dated November 19, 2015 sets forth both the master's authority and criteria the master is to apply in determining whether the text messages in question should be produced.
The undersigned has reviewed the text messages that fall within the scope of Paragraph 2 of the order dated November 19, 2015. The undersigned also reviewed a list of text messages (provided by counsel for plaintiff) between Commissioner Stump and 18 individuals and entities. Based upon this review, and having applied the criteria set forth in Paragraph 3 of the November 19, 2015 order, the undersigned has determined that none of the text messages are subject to production. 
Subsequent to release of Cole's report, Stump has been...

... and taunting detractors on Twitter, claiming he's been vindicated. 

That, of course, is complete and utter bullshit.

Notably, he's taken Goebbels' insight to heart in an effort to redefine Dark Money.
Next, he's sowing more propaganda to poison his fans' minds regarding investigative journalism and citizens' rights to examine public records.
From today's Yellow Sheet,
Meanwhile, Stump is tweeting triumphantly. This afternoon, he engaged attorney Tom Ryan, who filed the complaint that eventually led to Bitter Smith’s resignation, in a taut and acerbic exchange. Ryan tweeted that Cole didn’t do Stump any favors by “continuing the concealment.” Stump replied: “So you’re saying Judge Cole is corrupt. I see.”
Could ol' Trash Burner be more desperate to justify himself?

What's his plan? Besides his efforts to redefine Dark Money, he's spouting malarkey to get his believers to accept that asking for more specific information from the Special Master equates to saying the judge is corrupt.

And he's got people already buying into it.

From the Arizona Republic, an excerpt of an interview with Judge Cole,
"One of the definitions (of a public record) is that they should have a nexus to (Stump's) work," Cole said. "It's not, 'Gee, this is something people ought to hear.'"
He said the Attorney General's Office estimated there were 13,000 or more text messages sent by the phone, and five different tools were used to retrieve them.
Cole was provided with hard copies of text messages retrieved with each tool. He said the documents ranged from about 150 pages to about 500 pages, and he spent 43 hours examining them to find matches to the messages that Barr was seeking.
One of the problems was that the software used to retrieve the deleted texts did not provide complete reports, Cole said.
"There were some that indicated a time and date, but there was no content to it," he said. "With some, there was no way to tell who said what to whom."
It seems reasonable to infer from Cole's comments that there is substantially more to the story than simply, "nothing to see here, so move along."

To explore that likelihood, Dan Barr (counsel for Checks and Balances Project) sent the following letter to him,
Dear Judge Cole,
Thank you for your work as Special Master in reviewing the text messages provided to you by the Attorney General’s Office and for doing much of your work over the holiday season. If possible, the parties and the Court would greatly benefit if you could amend your report to provide the following information:
1) The total number of text messages that you reviewed and their date range;
2) Out of the total number of text messages you reviewed, how many of those were the text messages sought by plaintiff’s public records request (the 3,598 text messages between Commissioner Stump and 18 individuals and entities between May 1, 2014 through March 11, 2015). If the answer to this question is “zero” or some small number that would greatly streamline the litigation going forward;
3) If you did review any of the text messages sought by plaintiff, can you identify which ones by the date, time and the sending and receiving phone numbers?
4) For any such text messages identified in response to number 3 above, can you please indicate which ones that you believe are not public records in accordance with the standard put forth by the Supreme Court in Griffis v.Pinal County?
5) If you found that any text messages identified in response to number 3 above were a public record under the Griffis test, could you provide which reason under the Carlson v. Pima County (i.e., where an interest in privacy, confidentiality or best interest of the state overcomes the presumption of disclosure) for deciding that the text message should not be produced.
If you believe that our request exceeds the scope of your work as requested by Judge Warner, I would be glad to seek the Court’s approval for our request. Again, since you have just spent many hours reviewing these text messages, you are in the best position to provide the answers to the above questions that will greatly assist the parties and the Court going forward.
Again, thank you for all you work in this matter.
Dan Barr

Hardly a challenge to Cole's integrity. Stump's right about one thing, however. This is neither the end of the story nor the end of Trash Burner Bob's public records disclosure problems.

According to the Attorney General's estimate, Stump sent 13,000 (thirteen THOUSAND) text messages on his taxpayer funded cellphones. Since the question at hand is whether he was doing BUSINESS ex-parte with Arizona Public Service, (real) Dark Money operators, and APS-owned corp comm candidates, he wants you to believe ALL of those text messages were personal and private.

Would he be singing a different tune if the investigation was questioning his personal use of taxpayer resources? My cellphone provider charges $.20/text if itemized. Has anyone ever explained why corporation commissioners need taxpayers to pick up the tab for their personal use cellphones anyway?

Election law expert Richard Hasan, who teaches at UC Irvine, just released his new book, Plutocrats United: Campaign Money, the Supreme Court, and the Distortion of American Elections. Trash Burner Bob might like the book.

Hasan makes the case that what Stump has been doing (what we actually KNOW that he's been doing, rather than just surmising) might not really be corruption. Rather -- and especially given the Commissioner's enthusiastic embrace of his social relationships with the people who appear before the Corp Comm to argue their case for higher electric rates, or for net metering, or for whatever else -- it's the much more subtle, and most certainly very insidious when it comes to psychological manipulation of officials elected to protect the interests of the citizens and ratepayers, ingratiation.

But whatever you want to call it, the bottom line still IS that Trash Burner Bob takes care of his friends at Arizona Public Service.

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