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Whistleblower alleges PSC commissioner violates conflict laws

In the age of journalism layoffs, we're happy to see when someone else picks up the investigatory cudgel. Here self-described Public Service Commission investigator Steve Stewart reports that PSC Commissioner Katrina McMurrian has repeatedly raised conflict of interest questions with her attendance at both utility-sponsored events and private dinners. Both events were closed to the public and officials from the utility companies she regulates were in attendance. Take a look.

We can't vouch for the balance of the report -- there is no obvious response from McMurrian -- but it's clear Stewart has solid documents and his timeline raises serious questions about McMurrian's judgment that the commissioner should answer. 

Not to be confused with journalists -- most of whom at least try to be dispassionate observers -- Stewart has some strong views: “These commissioners sit as judges and are regulated by laws that prohibit this kind of communication,'' he wrote in his press release. "With over $1.3 billion being requested by FP&L and Progress Energy, it is unbelievable that a commissioner would attend such meetings.” 

Comments

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Samuel Spector

These commissioners who take these trips to great places many of us would love to vacation at, for these so-called learning conventions and have illegal exparte communications with the utilities that they regulate, need to be removed from that position immediately. There has not been any public confidence in the PSC for decades and this certainly does not help. I watch these PSC meetings because I care enough and understand the importance of keeping an eye on this agency that has the power to give millions of our dollars to the utilities. Many of the things I see when I watch I never read about in the paper. How will the public know they are being sold out if no one reports on it? Many of these commissioners go to work for the utilities after they leave the PSC. It seems to me that they act on the behalf of the utilities while working at the PSC with the thought that someday they too will be employed by them. Someone needs to investigate this PSC. They are quazi judicial and are very much like judges so how can they be havings dinner and outings with those they regulate? This is just disgusting wrong.

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