A fight that's been brewing for years between Arizona's largest, monopoly energy utility and third-party solar companies has largely taken place behind the scenes or at the state's energy regulating commission. But in late 2014, Arizona Public Service used its political connections to get members of Arizona's congressional delegation to sign letters urging the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to scrutinize and possibly penalize the solar companies over allegations of wrongdoing. What was left out of the letters is that they were written by an Arizona Public Service employee, and that the utility had also previously pumped tens of thousands of dollars into the campaign coffers of those congressmen and congresswomen. The Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting used digital breadcrumbs combined with traditional shoe-leather reporting to uncover this classic case of pay-to-play political maneuvering.
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