Saturday, May 7, 2016

Corruption gumption

The lawbreakers were at it again in the waning hours of the, as usual, horrific legislative session. We already knew, and reported on, various ways the Arizona Idioture has of dealing with corruption - its own as well as that of others in government. Once again the lawbreakers dealt with a conflict of interest by magically making it go away. The case in point, as reported by Howard Fischer at Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) is that of Andy Tobin, the newly appointed member of the Arizona Corruption Commission (aka Arizona Corporation Commission) was judged by legal counsel to have a conflict of interest because his relatives work for a company regulated by the Commission and a division of a company subject to regulation. The Idioture dealt with that by passing a law motivated by Tobin's plight that got him off the hook. Of course that now lets others off the hook as well.

PHOENIX — State lawmakers agreed Friday to alter state laws to alleviate the conflict-of-interest problems of the newest member of the Arizona Corporation Commission.

On a 32-22 margin the House approved language to effectively overrule the opinion of a commission attorney, who said Andy Tobin could not vote on certain electric rate cases if SolarCity had intervened. Tobin’s son-in-law works for the firm.

... Mike Coomer, who is married to Tobin’s daughter, is an “inventory control specialist’’ for SolarCity.

That company is not regulated by the commission. But it has been in the middle of fights with regulated utilities over rates the commission will let them charge customers who generate their own power with rooftop solar units — units manufactured and sold by SolarCity.

The [legislative] approval came just hours after the House had killed the same measure on a 22-31 vote. [WTF???]

The measure now heads to Gov. Doug Ducey, who is likely to sign it.

Of course, Laurie Roberts (The Republic/ has some things to say about all that.

Watch for a little touch of magic today at the state Capitol.

Poof. Now you don’t.Poof. Now you see Arizona Corporation Commissioner Andy Tobin’s conflict of interest, given his relatives who work for businesses that have a significant interest in how the commission votes.

Tobin is one easy vote away from having the Legislature declare that no longer does the former House speaker have a conflict of interest when voting on cases that affect Cox Communications, where his brother works, or SolarCity, where his son-in-law works.

The matter is now in the hands of Il Douche - the guy who appointed the other guy with the conflict.

One might wonder why Ducey couldn’t find a single other qualified Arizonan who could actually could vote on rate cases without potentially affecting his various relatives.

Instead, he appointed Tobin whose conflicts prevent him from voting on most of the major rate cases that will come before the commission.

Tobin’s response?

He’s declared that he’s running to keep his seat in November and he’s asked the Legislature to lower the ethical standards required to serve on the five-member commission that sets your electricity and phone rates.

Naturally, they jumped to do his bidding.

Why jump for Andy?

Not only would Tobin’s conflict of interest magically disappear should HB 2123 pass [which it did], the Legislature apparently has no conflict of interest in passing a new state law for one guy – their former boss.

And Tobin had no conflict when he lobbied the House to pass a bill declaring that he has no conflict.

The Senate approved the bill, 17-12, on Thursday and returned it to the House on Friday morning. Next stop: Ducey's desk. Look for the governor to sign the no-conflicts-for-Andy bill into law before the ink dries.

And abracadabra, presto chango: Andy Tobin’s conflict will be gone-o.

And we, the mere residents of this state, will be left to marvel and to wonder:

How did they do that?

Scriber's answer: you have here a system infused with corruption from top to bottom almost completely lacking in ethical standards. It doesn't take much for the characters in the system to muster the gumption to create more corruption. Hence corruption gumption.

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