Tuesday, August 30, 2016

One against four odds don't stop Bob Burns' crusade against Corruption at the Corporation Commission

The Sierra Vista Herald tells us why Arizona Corporation Commissioner Burns won’t be ignored.

The more the Arizona Corporation Commission ignores the efforts of Bob Burns, the more it fails to appreciate the seriousness of the integrity issue that plagues the state’s regulatory body.

Burns filed subpoenas this week seeking to uncover how much, if any, money has been contributed by the state’s largest utility, Arizona Public Service, and its parent company, Pinnacle West, Inc., to the campaigns of two commissioners now serving on the commission, Robert Forese and Doug Little.

Burns is a problem who won’t go away for the ACC. This latest effort follows a previous effort to hire an independent attorney to consult the commission on the alleged “dark money” and illegal campaign activities that link former chairman Robert Stump with Forese and Little when they were seeking election in 2014.

Not that Burns is completely alone. In June, the Federal Bureau of Investigations confirmed it has opened two cases on ACC shenanigans during the 2014 election cycle. One area of interest for the agency is focusing on contributions to a former commissioner, possibly relating to that member’s son running for Secretary of State and the other looking at the election of Forese and Little.

Some may argue the effort by Burns is a desperate attempt to generate publicity as part of his current campaign to win the upcoming primary election. Two factors count against that argument: First, it comes too late to benefit Burns as a candidate, now just three days before Tuesday’s election; and secondly, so what?

Calling attention to the need for the Arizona Corporation Commission to stand up to APS and its possible role in contributing to the election of candidates is never a bad idea.

If anything, it’s disappointing that the entire board hasn’t initiated a greater effort to cleanse the commission of the appearance of impropriety that has shadowed the public regulatory board for the past two years.

Until they do, it's fair for me and others to speculate that it's more than the mere appearance of impropriety. You add Commissioner Bob Stump's phone fiasco into the mix and you get a prima facie case for illegal acts. Just speculation, now. Just sayin'.

We support the effort by Commissioner Burns to seek more information from APS and its parent company and continue our call for the ACC to clean up its act.

But Scriber thinks they won't come clean until we have a different roster of commissioners. Vote for Tom Chabin and Bill Mundell this November.

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