Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Chair of AZ Corporation Commission should resign

That call from Laurie Roberts at The Republic/azcentral.com. Here are snippets.

... in addition to working full time at her $80,000-a-year commission job, regulating telecommunications companies, Bitter Smith is paid $159,000 a year to work full time for the Southwest Cable Communications Association, where she recently lobbied the Federal Communications Commission on a telecommunications issue on behalf of Cox and Suddenlink Communications.

She's also co-owner, with her husband Paul Smith, of Technical Solutions, a public affairs firm which until recently described itself as offering "full service government affairs services including direct federal, state and local lobbying activities with agencies ranging from the Federal Communications Commission, to the Arizona Corporation Commission, to the Arizona Legislature and Arizona municipalities."

Interestingly, that description was removed from its website after Ryan filed his Sept. 8 complaint with the Attorney General’s Office.

State law says a person who works for, holds an official relation to or is "pecuniarily interested" in a corporation that is regulated "shall not be elected, appointed to, or hold the office of commissioner, or be appointed or employed by the commission."

Yet there sits Bitter Smith, in her third year as an Arizona Corporation Commissioner and preparing to run for re-election next year.

It’s shameful. It should end.

She should resign.

Let's hope that her resignation will be the first of five. The other four commissioners are to some degree also tainted by conflict of interest and/or dark money associations. They need to go. And then we need a thorough investigation of the role played by APS, a regulated utility, in all of this.

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