Corporation commissioners investigate Arizona Public Service for possible bribery


PHOENIX  — Arizona Corporation Commissioners Bob Burns and Boyd Dunn, both Republicans, requested records Wednesday from Arizona Public Service Electric Co.  pertaining to commission elections and Commission-related charitable donations.

Also Wednesday, Arizona Corporation Commissioner Sandra Kennedy, a Democrat, sent a letter to Matthew Neubert, executive director of the Commission, directing him to prepare a subpoena to Arizona Public Service  (APS) and its parent company, Pinnacle West Capital Corp.

For years, Burns fought alone for the right to look at the financial records of APS and Pinnacle West to ascertain whether or not APS unduly influenced the elections of commissioners.

Burns has alleged that APS and Pinnacle West “have used, and continue to use, funds to support particular candidates running for seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission”.

Burns has argued that the funds are generated from “fees collected by APS from its Arizona customers”; and that these funds were expended to secure the “goodwill” and “allegiance” of certain candidates in order to secure “favorable treatment of APS in proceedings before the ACC.”

It is widely believed that APS or Pinnacle West contributed part, or all, of the over $3 million spent by in 2014 to the campaigns of Commissioner Tom Forese and former Commissioner Doug Little.

“Today, we are writing to give Arizona Public Service Company the opportunity to voluntarily produce the material requested in the attached Subpoena Duces Tecum (order to appear in court and bring specific documents). This letter is in keeping with the Commission’s normal process of requesting information from a public service corporation prior to compelling the utility through a subpoena,” said a letter signed by Burns and Dunn.

“This is a necessary step to assure all ratepayers, public service corporations, stakeholders, interested parties, and the public that the Commission operates with integrity.  Transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages,” continued the commissioners in their letter.

The commissioners gave APS until March 31 to turn over documents. If the company fails to comply by that deadline, the commissioners will request that this matter be placed on the agenda of a staff meeting to consider the subpoena.

The two Republican commissioners said they are making the request for documents because transparency and disclosure are essential to the accountability of public service corporations, the commissioners, and the commission.


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