Wednesday, May 31, 2017

BREAKING: AZ Corp Commissioner Burns Effort To Force APS To Divulge Dark Money Donations Hits Judicial Speedbump (READ, #50ShadesOfDarkMoney)

Arizona Corporation Commissioner Robert Burns will have to take another shot at convincing his ACC colleagues to force Arizona Public Service ("APS") and its parent company to respond to subpoenas regarding dark money political contributions in 2014.

Judge Daniel Kiley put a stay on Burns' case in Maricopa County Superior Court, saying that he had not exhausted his administrative remedies with his unwilling colleagues before filing the case. However, Kiley also denied the APS/Pinnacle West Motion to Dismiss the case due to premature filing.

"Staying, rather than dismissing, this case would better conserve the parties' resources and facilitate the timely resumption of judicial proceedings in the event such proceedings are warranted," said Kiley in his 4-page ruling (below).

The Judge found that the portion of the Arizona Constitution that permits the Corporation Commission to  enforce the production of evidence by subpoena refers back to provisions governing Arizona courts. A motion to compel must be filed in Superior Court before a party can ask the Court for sanctions.

Judge Kiley was assigned to this case earlier this month, after the initial judge suddenly removed himself.

The explosive dispute focuses on whether Commissioner Robert Burns can force the state's largest regulated electrical utility to disclose whether it funneled undisclosed monies to be spent on the 2014 Corporation Commission election.

Other races, including those for Governor (for Doug Ducey), Attorney General (for Mark Brnovich) and Secretary of State (for Justin Pierce) may have been impacted by APS dark money, as well. APS/Pinnacle West also provided semi-open support that year to the Republican Governors Association and the Republican Attorneys General Association.

Arizona's Politics extensively covered the 2014 dark money influx while it was happening and afterwards, and will continue to provide coverage of the Burns/APS dispute.

Arizona's Politics has asked the parties for comment, and will supplement as needed.
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