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IPFS News Link • Energy

Roberts: APS shows who runs this state


So, Arizona Public Service has decided to flex its considerable muscle (again, that is) and reject a regulator's order to disclose how much it spent to stack the Arizona Corporation Commission with friendly faces.

"Compelled disclosure about political contributions that APS or its affiliates may have made out of shareholder profits would go beyond what is required of all corporations under Arizona campaign finance laws, and would impinge on APS's First Amendment rights," APS/Pinnacle West CEO Don Brandt wrote, in a three paragraph blow-off to Commissioner Bob Burns.

Never mind that the Supreme Court justice who wrote the decision that allows APS to spend money on an independent political campaign actually contemplated that disclosure of such spending woujld occur.

Never mind the state Constitution, which says commissioners "shall have the power to inspect and investigate the property, books, papers, business, methods, and affairs of any corporation whose stock shall be offered for sale to the public, and of any public service corporation doing business within the state."

Or state law, which says commissioners "may, at any time, inspect the accounts, books, papers and documents of any public service corporation."

Brandt is thumbing his nose at the law because he knows no one in a position of authority will do anything about it.

APS refuses request to disclose political contributions

Certainly not the five-member commission. Two of them, Doug Little and Tom Forese, are widely believed to have been elected with $3.2 million worth of secret help from APS. One, Bob Stump, has been fighting all year to keep secret the texts he was sending during last year's campaign – texts that went to an APS official, a dark money group believed to have been funded by APS and to Forese, Little and their campaign manager, Alan Heywood.

That leaves the new guy, former House Speaker Andy Tobin, appointed to the Corporation Commission by Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday to fill Susan Bitter Smith's seat after she resigned earlier this month.  Tobin likely has no great love for APS, given its $10,000 in support last year for Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick over him, but would he risk running afoul of the governor?  Not likely.