“Checks and Balances Project was founded six years ago to ask tough questions of government officials, lobbyists, and corporate managers who stand in the way of sustainability. Despite today’s action, we’re celebrating the progress we’ve made in Arizona over the past year.
“Our pressure on the Corporation Commission caused Commissioners Doug Little and Tom Forese to align themselves with the majority of Arizonans who want clean energy, for Governor Ducey to mediate talks to stabilize the state’s reputation, and for Don Brandt to withdraw a 300% hike in monthly fees for solar customers last year due to what APS called ‘theater.’
“Due to our questions, former Chairman Susan Bitter Smith, whose ethical lapses should have been obvious to everyone in Arizona, was forced to resign. And Commissioner Burns stook up to demand that the state’s dominant utility reveal its political spending.
“Judge Randall Warner has decided to overlook several important facts in our case:
- First, the 36 texts the Attorney General’s investigator found (out of 3500+ text messages we located on a Verizon log) in Commissioner Bob Stump’s iPhone were blank.
- Second, the HASH values – the DNA of text messages that would show if any of Stump’s texts were altered – weren’t produced.
- Third, the AG’s investigator – a 35-year veteran of state government – recruited the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office for help to examin Stump’s iPhone.
- Fourth, the AG’s investigator, said “I am not aware of any program that gives HASH values to individual text messages extracted from a mobile phone,” while our expert – a contracted technical expert with U.S. District Courts, U.S. Dept. of Justice, and the U.S. Army who has extracted data from hundreds of cellphones/computers – declared, “I have never seen data extracted from a smart phone that did not contain unique HASH values for each extracted text message.
“We believe a court of appeals or the U.S. Department of Justice Public Integrity Section will find these facts, among others, of interest.”
Scott Peterson is executive director of the Checks and Balances Project, a national watchdog blog that seeks to hold government officials, lobbyists and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP comes from clean energy philanthropies and donors.