Arizona Corporation Commissioner Bob Stump repeatedly communicated with the executive director of a “dark money” group that spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to help elect the candidates he backed, while also keeping regular contact with those candidates, their campaign manager, and a senior executive of the state’s largest utility, Arizona Public Service, according to recently released records.
The links to Stump, who was the Commission chairman at the time, come to light in the form of text message metadata obtained by Checks & Balances Project, a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)4 non-profit organization that advocates against regulatory capture and on behalf of renewable and sustainable energy policies.
The text message logs come three months after a whistleblower complaint made by a Commission staff member alleged that Stump and former commissioner Gary Pierce facilitated electioneering from inside the commission. The Arizona Attorney General is still investigating those claims.
While the text metadata include the phone number and time and date of each text, they do not contain the text message content. Checks & Balances Project Executive Director Scott Peterson said there’s now a strong case for obtaining the content of the texts in order to see if they contain indications of improper activity. Peterson said he and his attorneys are exploring the option of a subpoena to do so.