Friday, December 5, 2014

BREAKING - OCTOBER NOT-SO-SURPRISE: APS Sent 2nd Mega Check To Boost GOP AG Candidate Mark Brnovich; Also, Last Minute Check Supporting Ducey

Arizona's Politics confirmed today that the state's largest utility, Arizona Public Service, sent a 2nd mega-check ($250,000) to the semi-dark money Republican Attorneys General Association ("RAGA") in October in order to boost the campaign of Attorney General-elect Mark Brnovich.  The October 3 contribution brought its investment in the race to $425,000.

RAGA ended up spending more than $3,000,000 on the Arizona campaign, helping Brnovich defeat Democratic nominee Felecia Rotellini 52.8-47.0%.  The Democratic counterpart only spent less than $1.3M.

You might recall that RAGA messed up its previous IRS filing, indicating that APS parent Pinnacle West Capital Corp. had contributed $175,000 on September 15, yet reported an aggregate year-to-date of $425,000.  Arizona's Politics inquired about the apparent discrepancy; while RAGA did not respond, it did amend the report.  We speculated then that there had been a $250k contribution made between the 9/30 cutoff and the 10/15 filing, but neither RAGA nor PinnWest would confirm.

Confirmation arrived late last night at 11:30pm, when RAGA filed its post-election report just under the deadline.  Turns out that PinnWest made the quarter-million dollar contribution on October 3.

APS was not the only Arizona contributor to the persistent advertising barrage knocking the Democratic candidate.  Susan McGroder - an attorney at law firm Gallagher & Kennedy - gave $10,000.  Randy Kendrick - an attorney whose husband is managing owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks - contributed $25,000, as did Shamrock Foods.  Other Arizona corporations contribute to both RAGA and DAGA (a potentially troublesome issue).

APS ALSO gave $50,000 to the RGA on October 29, supporting Treasurer/Gov-Elect Doug Ducey's race. (RGA just filed yesterday, too.)

Arizona Public Service acknowledged last year that it contributed to groups working on the net metering issue before it came before the Arizona Corporation Commission (the government agency that regulates APS and other utilities).

APS/Pinnacle West is also widely believed to be behind a massive amount of dark money spending in campaigns this year for seats on the Corporation Commission, Secretary of State (one unsuccessful Republican candidate - Justin Pierce - has a father already on the Corporation Commission.

APS has neither denied nor confirmed those dark money contributions.  The contributions to RAGA and the RGA uncovered by Arizona's Politics were the first (and, only) substantive* and publicly-disclosed election contributions.

* APS and Pinnacle West have made small contributions this election cycle to the GOP's House Victory Committee ($5,000, May 20) and Senate Victory Committee ($5,000, May 31), and to the LD21 Republican Committee ($1,000, July 31).

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

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