By Evlondo Cooper, Senior Fellow at Checks and Balances Project
Checks and Balances Project (C&BP) filed a lawsuit on Oct. 28, 2015, against the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) to demand immediate access to public records on Commissioner Bob Stump’s taxpayer-funded smartphone.
Bob Stump has been dismissive of previous requests for these records. But, after seven months of trying to obtain access to the text messages on Stump’s taxpayer-funded phone, C&BP Executive Director Scott Peterson decided a lawsuit was the only way to bring transparency and accountability to the Commissioner’s actions.
A log of text messages indicate that Stump may have coordinated the August 2014 GOP primary election of pro-utility candidates with Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) candidates Forese and Little, their campaign manager Alan Heywood, dark money electoral groups, and Arizona Public Service. If proven, that would be a violation of Arizona election law.
“The Arizona Corporation Commission needs to get out of the way and let the public see what Bob Stump was really up to,” Peterson said.
Career investigators at the Arizona Attorney General’s office seized Stump’s iPhone 5 on July 21, refusing requests to release either the phone or the public records stored on it.
According to C&BP attorney Dan Barr: “It would have been far easier for Commissioner Stump to comply with his legal duties under the Public Records Law had he used his Corporation Commission email account instead of texting on his private phone and then apparently deleting many of those texts soon afterward. Nevertheless, those text messages should still be on Commissioner Stump’s phone that was seized by the Attorney General’s office on July 21, 2015. The Corporation Commission is the original custodian of Mr. Stump’s phone. They must comply with the Public Records Law and give us access to his phone so we can extract those texts that are public records.”
To read the complaint and learn more about C&BP’s ongoing efforts to hold Commissioner Bob Stump accountable, please visit the Checks and Balances website.
About Checks & Balances Project
A clean-energy public watchdog blog, C&BP asks questions of government officials, corporate managers and lobbyists who stand in the way of the growth of clean energy. Funding for C&BP comes from clean energy philanthropies and donors.
[Tweet "Checks and Balances Project Sues For Access to Commissioner Bob Stump’s Taxpayer-Funded Phone via @scalinggreen"]