Friday, July 6, 2018

Arizona's Politics TIDBITS (Utilities Edition): APS Finding "LOTS" Of Challengeable Clean Energy Signatures

There is a lot of political news in which mega-utility Arizona Public Service and major Pinal County provider Johnson Utilities are at the vortex. Here are updates:

7/6, 3:45pm: The jury is expected to begin deliberations on Monday morning in the alleged bribery trial involving former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce and three others. After 17 days of trial testimony, jurors were given the 4th of July week off and told to report back on the 9th to determine the fates of Pierce and his wife Sherry, Johnson Utilities owner George Johnson, and lobbyist Jim Norton.

7/6, 3:40pm: 

7/6, 3:15pm: The Arizona Corporation Commission and all of its Commissioners except one this week filed a Motion to Dismiss the most-recent version of the 5th Commissioner's lawsuit to force APS to disclose all of its political contributions in the 2014 election cycle.  Robert Burns will be responding to the Motions to Dismiss from his fellow Commissioners and a separate one from APS. (The ACC Motion was filed on July 2 and APS' on June 25.)

As noted below, Arizona's Politics reported extensively in 2014 on APS's contributions to both dark money organizations and semi-dark organizations, and its efforts to elect Doug Ducey as Governor, Mark Brnovich as Attorney General and favorable Corporation Commissioners.

7/6, 2:45pm: As expected, Arizona Public Service is going over each of the 480,464 petition signatures - on 50,065 different petition sheets - submitted yesterday by the Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona initiative group. And, Matt Benson, the spokesperson for the APS-funded opposition group Arizonans For Affordable Electricity, is claiming that there are "LOTS" of examples of invalid signatures and ineligible petition circulators.

Here are the two examples cited thus far:

Lonetree was indeed convicted of being a spy; however, it is not clear whether or not he had his civil rights restored following his prison term. If he has such proof, he would be a valid circulator. Also, it is highly likely that the highly-capable attorneys for Clean Energy would try to retain the signers on Lonetree's petitions by bringing those people in to testify.

Attorneys for AAE have filed an unresolved complaint with the Attorney General's Office* that Clean Energy has registered more than 30 possibly ineligible felons as circulators. And, AAE attempted to use that partial information to warn people not to sign the initiative petition.
As Benson points out, committees are expected to "scrub" signatures that they should know are not valid. AAE is very likely to file legal action in Maricopa County Superior Court in the next two weeks to attempt to prevent the initiative from being placed on the November ballot.

*As reported earlier by Arizona's Politics, Attorney General Mark Brnovich is the future beneficiary of a $50,000 APS contribution to the Republican Attorneys General Association. APS gave RAGA $425,000 in 2014 to support Brnovich's election.

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