CoxOutsideLogoSeveral weeks ago, I talked about a situation attracting attention in Arizona. There, we have a Cox Communication lobbyist who sits on the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). The ACC is a powerful and elected Commission that regulates telephone lines in the state with its power established by the Arizona Constitution.

So, one would think that someone lobbying for Cox would have a slight conflict of interest being on a Commission that is supposed to regulate the telecom. But ACC member Susan Bitter Smith continues to play stupid about her quite obvious conflict of interest.

  • Nevermind that she is currently a registered lobbyist for Cox.
  • Nevermind that she heads a trade group for cable companies where her salary is set by employees of the trade group.
  • Nevermind that Cox is a member of Smith’s trade group.
  • Nevermind that she makes $140,000 per year from the trade group.

You see, according to Smith and Cox, she is only a registered lobbyist in the interest of being “transparent”. Right.

Anyway, as the Arizona Daily Sun reports, new evidence continues to come out showing just how entrenched Smith is with the telecom industry. In January, Smith put in an advertisement in the annual Book of Lobbyists published by the Arizona Capitol Times. In the ad, Smith represented herself as the executive director of the Southwest Cable Communications Association (trade group) and cited her areas of expertise as local government, cable television, telecommunications and wireless telephone.

What does the ad say that she does exactly?

The ad says Smith and her organization lobbies on behalf of both cable television and telecommunications. – AZDailySun

In fact, the trade group’s web-site notes that they provide “an essential ‘unified voice’ in dealing with the local utility companies … in resolving pressing utility problems.” So, the trade group is openly admitting to being directly involved with the ACC.

Seems pretty simple and shut to me.