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[OPINION] Rose Law Group Co-Founder Court Rich in AZCentral: Here’s the question no one is asking about APS’s secret spending

Posted by   /  September 12, 2019  /  No Comments

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Don Brandt, CEO of Arizona Public Service and its parent company, Pinnacle West Capital Corp., appears before the Arizona Corporation Commission in Phoenix on Sept. 4, 2019.
/Pool Photo: Tom Tingle/The Republic

Opinion: Why did APS funnel money to support the son of a regulator when he ran for secretary of state? The Corporation Commission needs to ask.

By Court Rich, opinion contributor, senior partner, Rose Law Group 

(Editor’s note: Opinion pieces are published for discussion purposes only.)

What struck me most about the Arizona Corporation Commission’s questioning of APS CEO Don Brandt on Sept. 4 was not the way that APS predictably got away with sidestepping tough questions or the damning characterizations of APS’s political machine. 

No, the thing that left me dumbfounded is the question that wasn’t asked. 

In April, the Associated Press reported that documents turned over by APS in response to commission subpoenas confirmed that APS’ parent company, Pinnacle West, gave $5.8 million to the Free Enterprise Club which in turn spent about $450,000 of this money to support two candidates for the commission and $733,000 to aid the son of a sitting commissioner in his unsuccessful run for secretary of state.

This money was funneled through the Free Enterprise Club to shield its source and, despite wide speculation, APS refused to confirm that it was the source of this money until the disclosure this spring. To be clear, a regulated utility monopoly spent three-quarters of a million dollars in secret to support the campaign of the son of a sitting commissioner.

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