Checks and Balances Project Prepares to Sue Arizona Corporation Commission to Enforce Public Access to Records
April 14, 2015 Leave a comment
Watchdog Seeks Commissioner Bob Stump’s Text Messages with APS Lobbyists, Executives about Customer Access to Low-Cost Solar
April 14, 2015 – Checks and Balances Project (C&BP) announced today that it has hired Dan Barr of Perkins-Coie to prepare a lawsuit to enforce public access to records of Commissioner Bob Stump of the Arizona Corporation Commission concerning his contacts with Arizona Public Service (APS) lobbyists and executives over customer access to low-cost solar. Barr informed the Commission today it must respond immediately or face a lawsuit. Such a lawsuit would be grounded in significant legal precedent under Arizona law.
“It’s been over a month now since the Checks and Balances Project submitted a request for Commissioner Bob Stump’s text messages and other records of his interactions with APS management and lobbyists regarding people’s access to low-cost solar energy,” said Scott Peterson, executive director of C&BP. “There’s no reason for the Commission to hide these records and a lawsuit is the last resort. But we’re telling the Commission today that if we have to take this to a judge, we’re ready to do so.”
Mr. Barr has more than 25 years of experience in the area of civil litigation involving constitutional, employment, media and political law issues. He has represented several news media organizations, including the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona.
About Checks and Balances Project
C&BP is a national public watchdog that seeks to shed light on the influence of corporate management and lobbyists on government officials who stand in the way of the growth of clean energy. In a number of states, utility commissioners are acting almost as consultants to the utilities they are charged with overseeing. The range of favoritism is wide – from casual remarks to open assistance to help a regulated utility shop for a favorable state judge. There seems to be an emerging trend, which is why C&BP is taking a systemic look to see what is going on in state public utility and state corporation commissions. To learn more, visit our website at checksandbalancesproject.org.