- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich says his office will not seek an outside investigator to handle a probe of a former Corporation Commissioner.

But Brnovich said in a statement Wednesday that he has personally stepped away from any investigation into former commissioner Gary Pierce to avoid his involvement becoming a distraction.

Instead, he’s assigned his solicitor general and the head of the criminal investigation to handle the case.

A whistleblower has accused Pierce of meeting multiple times privately with top Arizona Public Service Co. officials while the commission was considering a rate increase and using his position to influence corporation commission business filings.

Pierce denies any wrongdoing and says he welcomes the investigation.

APS’s parent company spent more than $400,000 last year attacking Brnovich’s Democratic opponent in attorney general’s race.

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