By Associated Press - Thursday, March 4, 2021

PHOENIX (AP) - A new court decision says one Arizona Corporation Commission member can’t sue to enforce an investigatory subpoena in a utility rate-setting case over the opposition of the majority of the commission members.

A Court of Appeals panel’s ruling Thursday upholds a trial judge and denies an appeal by former Commissioner Robert Burns, who had sued other commission members and Arizona Public Service Co., the state’s largest utility.

Burns had sought to enforce subpoenas he issued to APS for information on whether APS had funneled donations through independent expenditure groups in support of other commission candidates in the 2014 election.

APS didn’t fully comply with the subpoenas. Burns was thwarted when other commissioners balked at enforcing the subpoenas.

Burns went to court, but a trial judge ruled Burns lack legal standing to disqualify the other commissioners from the rate case and to unilaterally enforce compliance with his subpoenas.

APS disclosed in 2018 that it broke with its precedent and secretly spent more than $3 million to support its favored candidates for the Corporation Commission.

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