Thursday, October 22, 2015

BOBghazi STUMPgate update: Stump goes looking for political fire ...

... and gets burned by former AZ Corporation Commissioners.

Laurie Roberts has been reporting on the ACC's "shenanigans." Here are snippets from her most recent one at azcentral.com.

Finally, it appears that one of Arizona’s corporation commissioners has developed a healthy dose of curiosity.

Nooooo. Not about Arizona Public Service and whether the state’s largest utility spent $3.2 million last year to buy a couple of seats on the commission that regulates utilities.

Nooooo. Not about whether Commissioners Tom Forese and Doug Little have any business voting to set the size of profits that APS can make, given that the utility is widely believed to have supported their campaigns with dark money.

Nope, it seems Bob Stump wants to know who’s funding an effort by a pair of former corporation commissioners who have spoken out about the shenanigans currently underway at the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Former Commissioners Renz Jennings and Bill Mundell on Tuesday called on the commission to subpoena APS’ books – so that we can find out whether APS secretly bankrolled two independent campaigns aimed at getting Forese and Little elected last year.

Apparently that was too much for our boy Stump. He asked about the source of funding for Jennings and Mundell and about whether either or both of them would be running for the Commission again. Stump said "This would make an interesting article for an enterprising reporter."

Bob, Bob. Be careful what you wish for. Laurie Roberts did ask those questions. There is no dark money behind the Jennings and Mundell's questions for the ACC. The answer to the other question, about whether either of them is interested in a run for the ACC, is interesting.

As for the second question, Jennings, a Democrat, says he’s not running for the Corporation Commission. Mundell, who served on the commission as a Republican, says he hasn’t decided, but if he does, it’ll be as a Democrat. The longtime Republican changed his registration in September.

It seems Jennings and Mundell are motivated not by some deep-seated need to side with solar, but by a deep-seated disgust with suspected nefarious goings-on, when $3.2 million in dark money is secretly pumped into campaigns to get certain people onto the commission that sets the size of utilities' profits and the size of your electric bill.

"What we are interested in finding out is what APS did," Jennings told me. "The reason why everybody is so tied up in knots about this is because if it’s the utility that’s trying to buy its regulators, that’s really bad."

One would think an enterprising corporation commissioner might think so, too. Or at least realize that the appearance of the Arizona Corporation Commission as a wholly-owned subsidiary of APS is a problem.

It takes just one commissioner to order APS to open its books, so that we can know whether the utility spent millions on the election.

Unfortunately, when it comes to that possibility of APS funny-business, Mr. Stump seems to suffer from a rather appalling lack of curiosity.

Unless it is about the folks who are trying to keep the ACC honest.

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