Corporation Commission defends ethics policy on campaign cash, recusal to legislature

By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Mirror

The Corporation Commission rejected legislative staff’s assertion that its ethics policy restricting campaign contributions from regulated utilities is illegal, arguing that it doesn’t violate state law or the Arizona Constitution.

At the request of Sen. Rick Gray, R-Sun City, the Legislative Council in September examined the commission’s ethics policy, and found a number of alleged legal deficiencies. 

Most notably, Legislative Council concluded that a provision of the ethics policy limiting commissioners’ ability to vote on matters involving utilities that have provided funding for their campaigns, overstepped the commission’s legal authority by prohibiting its members from participating in their official duties. The policy may also violate the First Amendment’s free speech protections, which includes political spending, Legislative Council said.

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