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APS used backdoor charitable donations to sway regulators, report warns

Posted by   /  December 11, 2019  /  No Comments

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By Elizabeth Whitman | Phoenix New Times

Arizona Public Service’s notorious influence in Arizona politics is fueled not only by its tens of millions in political spending, but also, less visibly, by tens of millions in philanthropic contributions, a new report says.

From 2013 to 2017, APS, Arizona’s largest utility, with 1.2 million captive customers, gave nearly $39 million in philanthropic contributions to a smattering of local groups, according to the report, which was published by the Energy and Policy Institute, a San Francisco-based watchdog group, on December 10.

For that report, the organization examined philanthropic contributions from 10 of the U.S.’s biggest investor-owned electric utilities: Ameren, American Electric Power, APS, Dominion Energy, DTE Energy, Duke Energy, Entergy, FirstEnergy, NextEra Energy, and Southern Company.

That charitable giving could be used to solicit direct and public support from recipients, curry favor with policymakers by giving to organizations they had connections with, suppress dissent, or demand support from communities of color, the report said.


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