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FBI Getting Involved In Arizona Corporation Commission Election Case

Bob Stump
(Photo by Steve Shadley - KJZZ)
Bob Stump of the Arizona Corporation Commission.

The FBI may be interested in pursuing the deleted texts of a state utility regulator that an Arizona judge has already ruled are not public information.

Scott Peterson of the Checks and Balances Project sued after a log showed a series of texts in 2014 between Arizona Corporation Commissioner Bob Stump, two corporation commission candidates, the head of a dark money group trying to get them elected, and an executive of Arizona Public Service.

A judge said what little was found on Stump's current phone— he had discarded the phone he was using at the time of the texting in question— was not public information.

The FBI already has interviewed former commissioner Gary Pierce amid allegations he used his position to get businesses regulated by the panel to donate to his son's campaign for secretary of state. It also has subpoenaed documents from the commission and contacted APS.

If federal agents end up taking an interest in Stump's phone, they could subpoena it. And the agency's forensic experts may be able to recover more text messages than those hired by the Arizona Attorney General's office.

Stump derided the whole effort, noting it was Peterson who contacted the FBI and saying, "I'm sure they get many wacky calls, of course, from fringe groups like Checks and Balances."