(KFYI News) – Protesters gathered outside the corporate headquarters of Arizona Public Service on Tuesday to complain about the utility's reticence to say whether it's making campaign donations to an independent expenditure committee that's pushing the election of two Republican candidates for Arizona Corporation Commission.
The candidates, Tom Forese and Doug Little, are campaigning to "keep utility rates as low as possible", and a recent mailing on their behalf from the Arizona Free Enterprise Club says the two – who are running as a team in the GOP primary against two other Republicans – are "opposing Obama's radical energy agenda" of which a key component is renewable energy sources, primarily solar. The mailing says increased reliance on solar energy, which is supported by the other two Republican candidates as well as the two Democratic hopefuls, will cost jobs "and push our energy bills through the roof."
There's speculation by political experts that APS is a major donor to the Arizona Free Enterprise Club. However, the Club won't disclose its donors, and APS neither confirms nor denies that it's given campaign money to any group.
Protesters like Peoria resident Paul Mark, who has a rooftop solar array, say they are upset by "the tactics by APS where they are not disclosing what they're doing to support candidates that are favorable to them." Mark says he doesn't have a problem if APS is playing a role in supporting certain candidates for Corporation Commission, but the utility should be upfront about it.
About 50 protesters marched in front of APS headquarters chanting "Shame on APS, Shame on shady tactics."
PHOTO: Protesters march near the corner of 5th St. and Van Buren St.