Arizona PBS Horizon covers Bob Stump Investigation

azhorizonWatch Arizona’s PBS station break down the Bob Stump investigation during their “Horizon” program. Coverage of our story begins at the 11 minute mark.

C&BP Investigation Covered on NBC 12 Sunday Square Off

This weekend, Arizona’s NBC News 12 tackled the latest news in our investigation of Bob Stump and the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Top Headline, July 24, 2015

in the news

Excerpt from The Arizona Republic (7/23/15): “Which GOP genius tried to make a lawyer look bad?”

azcentral

The Arizona Republican Party… has released one of those ominous-sounding, personally stigmatizing hit-piece videos attacking Barr as a front man for a Washington-based clean-energy group called the Checks and Balances Project. Checks and Balances is the group seeking to uncover text messages sent and received by Arizona Corporation Commissioner Bob Stump — texts that may or may not show that Stump passed messages between an independent campaign committee and two successful GOP Corporation Commission candidates.

You can view the video in question by clicking here.

Top Headlines, July 23rd, 2015

in the news

Excerpt from The Arizona Republic (7/22/15): “Arizona GOP runs interference for Bob Stump … and APS?”

azcentral Clearly, Arizona Public Service must be worried. Which means that the Arizona Corporation Commission must be worried. Which means that the Arizona Republican Party is up nights … really, really worried.

Thus comes the state GOP’s campaign to discredit those who are nosing around trying to figure out just how cozy Arizona’s utility regulators are with Aizona’s largest utility. This week, the party put out a web ad, dubbing the Washington D.C.-based pro-clean energy Checks and Balances Project “a leftist group pushing their radical agenda.”

Excerpt from The Arizona Republic (7/22/15): “AG’s Office widens Arizona Corporation Commission investigation”

 azcentral“The investigators working on the ACC complaint felt that there was enough public discussion and enough cause that the phone should be examined and information and data analyzed in conjunction or in relation to the whistleblower complaint,” AG spokesman Ryan Anderson told me on Wednesday.

“There have been widespread media reports and public information on what the text messages may or may not have entailed or may have been discussed. So it was determined that that was relevant to the investigation.”

Excerpt from The Arizona Republic (7/22/15): “Arizona utility regulator Bob Stump’s phone seized in probe of former Commissioner Gary Pierce”

azcentral

The probe of Stump is being led by a watchdog group called the Checks and Balances Project. Through the state public records law, it requested text messages Stump sent from 2013 through earlier this year. The commission has been unable to provide them.

Excerpt from KJZZ (7/23/15): “Arizona Attorney General Confiscates Utility Regulator’s Cellphone”

kjzz

The saga of Arizona Corporation Commissioner Bob Stump’s deleted text messages took an unexpected twist this week when the Arizona Attorney General’s office decided to get involved.

A nonprofit watchdog group in Washington D.C. has been hounding the Corporation Commission for months for access to Stump’s cellphone in order to recover hundreds of deleted text messages.

Top Headlines, July 22nd, 2015

Excerpt from The Arizona Republic (7/21/15): “Arizona utility regulator Bob Stump’s phone seized in probe of former Commissioner Gary Pierce”

azcentral

The investigation of current Commissioner Bob Stump and the text messages he sent to Arizona Public Service Co., political groups and candidates for the commission has collided with an investigation of former Commissioner Gary Pierce….

‘The Attorney General’s Office requested the phone used by Commissioner Stump as part of its investigation of the whistleblower letter that the commission requested,’ said Barrett Marson, an interim spokesman for the commission.”

Excerpt from The Arizona Republic (7/22/15): “Attorney General should evaluate Bob Stump’s cozy quotient with APS” 

azcentral

“Once again, Corporation Commissioner Bob “the mad texter” Stump’s cell phone is on the move.

This time, it’s gone from the commission’s safe to the Attorney General’s Office, which is investigating allegations that former Commissioner Gary Pierce was a little too cozy with Arizona Public Service CEO Don Brandt when Pierce was on the commission.”

Excerpt The Arizona Daily Sun (7/22/15): “AG enters fray over Stump cellphone”

az sun “The Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday expanded its inquiry into allegations of improper conduct by members of the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Ryan Anderson, spokesman for the AG’s office, said his agency’s investigators believe the phone that had been used by Commissioner Bob Stump in 2014 is relevant to the inquiry they have now been conducting for months on activities at the commission going back to 2012.”

Top Headlines, July 17th, 2015

Excerpt From The Arizona Republic (7/15/15): “Timeline: Utility regulator text debate”

“March 2015: Through the state public records law, the Checks and Balances Project, a Washington, D.C.-area watchdog group, requests text messages Stump sent as far back as 2013.

April 2015: The Corporation Commission responds to Checks and Balances Project saying the texts are not available. It provides a log of times and dates messages were sent and contact numbers…”

Excerpt From The Arizona Republic (7/15/15): “Phoenix PD declines to inspect regulator’s phone”

“A government watchdog group called the Checks and Balances Project requested the messages under the state public-records law, and so far the utility regulators have not turned over the messages to the Washington, D.C.-area group.

The commission has agreed to allow the phone to be inspected to comply with the records request, but has been unable to find a law enforcement agency to conduct the inspection, and the cell company said the messages are not available on its system.”

Excerpt From The Arizona Daily Star (7/16/15): “Steller: People complicate Arizona’s simple public-records law”

“The commission has stalled and stalled as a solar-industry affiliated group, the Checks and Balances Project, demanded the content of text messages sent by Commissioner Bob Stump on his commission-issued phone.

As you may recall, the project has discovered that in the run-up to last year’s primary election, Stump exchanged many messages with the leader of a dark-money group, as well as with candidates he and the group supported for the Corporation Commission. The implication was that Stump could have illegally coordinated an independent-expenditure campaign.”

Excerpt From The Arizona Daily Star (7/16/15): “Effort to retrieve ACC board member’s texts continues”

““The next step is to look for a trusted and well-credentialed private lab,” she said, one that has experience in finding deleted electronic data, but said giving the phone to a private company could raise “chain of custody concerns.”

The delay has frustrated Dan Barr, the attorney for the Checks and Balances Project, which has been pursuing the content of the texts for months.

Barr has a replacement in mind and the Checks and Balances Project would pay for those services ‘under the watchful eye of ACC attorneys.'”

Excerpt From Verde Independent (7/14/15): “Arizona Corporation Commission goes on offensive to solve deleted texts problem”

“The Arizona Corporation Commission is obtaining software designed to help ensure the public has a chance from now on of getting access to text messages of state utility regulators. But for the moment it will be up to the regulators to decide whether to use it.”

Excerpt From The Arizona Eagletarian (7/15/15): “Who REALLY should supervise forensic examination of Bob Stump’s cell phone?”

“The Phoenix Police Department has also refused to handle the forensic analysis of Stump’s phone to see if any text messages are retrievable, according to an email sent from Assistant City Attorney Jennifer LaRoque to Corp Comm executive director Jodi Jerich. Last week, DPS also refused the job, saying there is no allegation of criminal activity involved in the controversy.”

massive Checks logo

Corporation commissioner destroyed text messages, group told

This article by Howard Fischer was published in the Arizona Daily Star June 19th, 2015.

_-9aHXUq_400x400PHOENIX — A watchdog group has been told it can’t examine state Corporation Commissioner Bob Stump’s text messages because they were deleted and the phone used to send and receive them was destroyed.

The texts in question are believed to be between Stump and political candidates and the head of a “dark money group.”

David Cantelme, an attorney hired by the Arizona Corporation Commission, told the group that the agency can’t comply because the records “do not exist” — at least not any more. He said Stump “routinely deleted” messages of state business from his commission-issued phone “once their administrative or reference value ended.”

Attorney Daniel Barr, who represents the Checks and Balances Project, which wants to review the messages, said that practice “shows a clear disrespect and disregard for the Public Records Law.”

But Barr said what Stump did — or thought he did — doesn’t matter, saying technology is available to retrieve deleted information.

Cantelme, however, said the phone Stump was using at the time — up to the 2014 election — is not available, because the commissioner has since opted for a more modern iPhone5.

“His iPhone3 had deteriorated and become damaged and disabled, and he disposed of it as unusable after he began using the iPhone5,” Cantelme wrote to Barr. “Thus the iPhone3, first issued to Commissioner Stump in 2010, no longer exists.”

Barr, however, said there’s still a way to retrieve the information. And on Friday he told the commission to give him access to Stump’s iPhone 5 by this coming Friday or face a lawsuit.

“The commission can get these messages,” Scott Peterson, executive director of the Checks and Balances Project, said in a prepared statement. “They just don’t want anyone to see them.”

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