Water manager’s lobbyist costs under scrutiny, ban possible

By Rachel Leingang | Arizona Capitol Times

The Central Arizona Project has paid more than $2.5 million for lobbyists in Arizona and Washington D.C. over the past five years, an analysis of the agency’s lobbying contracts shows.

The water canal system’s lobbying costs came under fire from Gov. Doug Ducey’s office as part of meetings he has convened to lay out future plans for water policy.

In early proposals of what the meetings would cover, the Governor’s Office suggested banning Central Arizona Water Conservation District, CAP’s manager, from hiring federal lobbyists. More recent documents from the meetings show lobbying costs could be considered as part of required performance audits from the state’s auditor general.

The $2.5 million on lobbying over five years is a tiny fraction of CAP’s budget, its spokeswoman, Crystal Thompson, said in an email. During those five years, CAP’s overall budget amounted to $1.25 billion, so the lobbying money was only 0.2 percent of the agency’s budget, she pointed out.

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