By Laurie Roberts, The Arizona Republic
Once again, Corporation Commissioner Bob "the mad texter" Stump's cell phone is on the move.
This time, it's gone from the commission's safe to the Attorney General's Office, which is investigating allegations that former Commissioner Gary Pierce was a little too cozy with Arizona Public Service CEO Don Brandt when Pierce was on the commission.
The investigation was prompted by a former aide to Pierce turned whistleblower, who among other things claimed that he advised Stump about his concerns with Pierce but that Stump didn't do anything.
If Stump didn't act, could it be because he was too busy himself madly texting an APS executive? And a dark money group believed to have been funded by APS? And a couple of commission candidates backed by APS?
The Checks and Balances Project has for months been trying to get a look at Stump's text messages, to see what the utility regulator was privately repeatedly texting about with the utility, the dark money group and the utility-supported candidates.
Alas, the commission's attorney David Cantelme has said that Stump regularly deleted his texts, sent during last year's campaign season. Then, he threw his commission-supplied phone away because it was outdated.
And even if the text messages existed, they likely wouldn't be public record, Cantelme contends, which is something of a feat given that he's never actually seen them.
Digital experts say the text messages Stump sent on the old phone can be retrieved from Stump's new phone. For weeks now, the commission has been looking for someone – read: not the experts suggested by Checks and Balances – to check out Stump's phone.
Now somebody's going to be doing just that: investigators for the Attorney General's Office.
Hey maybe while AG's investigators are evaluating Stump's APS-cozy quotient, they can also take a look to see if he violated Arizona's Public Records Law?