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Ethics complaint filed against new Arizona Corporation Commissioner Kevin Thompson

A new member of the Arizona Corporation Commission, who used to be a lobbyist for a natural gas utility the body regulates, is facing an ethics complaint.

A spokesman for Kevin Thompson says the commissioner is confident he did not violate any rules when he took a January trip to New York to meet with a handful of financial institutions.

In October of 2021, Guggenheim Partners downgraded stock in the parent company of APS from buy to sell, in part due to what the firm said was a strict regulatory environment created by the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Thompson met with Guggenheim in New York. In a Jan. 21 Facebook post about the trip, he vowed that Arizona would be loosening its regulatory grip.

Abhay Padgaonkar filed the complaint against Thompson.

“Because these financial institutions he met with clearly have interests that are affected by Commission decisions,” said Padgaonkar.

A spokesman for Thompson says he did not discuss any matters that are pending with the Corporation Commission during the New York meetings.

It is unclear whether Thompson will face an ethics investigation.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Padgaonkar’s name.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.