Lawmaker takes aim at Corporation Commission policy on campaign contributions by utilities

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By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Mirror

Legislative attorneys believe a Corporation Commission policy intended to restrict campaign contributions by regulated utilities violates the Arizona Constitution, and the lawmaker who requested that opinion is hoping it will persuade the commission to change course for next year’s election.

Sen. Rick Gray, R-Sun City, asked Legislative Council to review the commission’s 2019 code of ethics. Specifically, he wanted the council’s opinion on whether a policy that prohibits commissioners from taking campaign contributions from regulated utilities, their employees and their lobbyists violates either the Arizona or U.S. constitutions.

Under the rule, commissioners cannot knowingly take contributions from regulated public service corporations, their lobbyists, employees or officers, nor can they accept money from any intervenor in a case that’s before the commission. The commission’s intention in passing the rule was to require commissioners to recuse themselves if they’ve taken money from people involved in cases they’re hearing. 

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