A former top federal prosecutor will investigate whether there is sufficient evidence to bring impeachment charges against state utility regulator Jim Irvin.
House Speaker Jake Flake, R-Snowflake, on Friday chose Mel McDonald of Gilbert, the former U.S. attorney for Arizona, to look at Irvin’s actions as a member of the Arizona Corporation Commission to see if any of them constitute malfeasance, one of the constitutional grounds for removing an elected official from office.
Flake said he hopes to get a report no later than the end of September. If McDonald finds evidence of misconduct, hearings would begin in October.
The House has agreed to pay him and his law firm up to $200,000. That figure does not include outside investigators and lawyers and their out-ofpocket expenses, which McDonald said should not exceed $50,000.
Additional charges would be negotiated if the House decides to bring charges and a S enate trial becomes necessary. McDonald also is bringing on board Jose Rivera, also a former U.S. attorney for Arizona, not just for his experience but because Rivera is a Democrat.
McDonald said he wants to interview Irvin to get his story of events. Irvin is being examined over using his position as a corporation commissioner to undermine one company’s bid to purchase Southwest Gas. A federal court jury already has returned a $60.4 million verdict against him.
Also at issue is whether Irvin attempted to interject himself in a commission investigation that involved the brother of one of his campaign workers.
Several prominent Republicans and other members of the commission have called for Irvin’s resignation.