Irvin's activities need to be fully probed and results made public - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Irvin's activities need to be fully probed and results made public

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Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2003 9:36 pm | Updated: 1:33 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Jim Irvin is gone at last from the Arizona Corporation Commission, but that must not be the end of this sordid matter. Dark clouds still hang over Irvin and the commission.

At least two ongoing investigations must be completed and their findings made public. At the very least, we know that Irvin egregiously violated the public trust by stealthily attempting to sabotage a utility company merger. A jury found Irvin's activities so serious it levied a $60.4 million judgment against him.

For his part, Irvin still protests his innocence. He apparently sees nothing wrong with a state utility regulator secretly meeting with officers of companies he regulates in an attempt to manipulate a corporate merger. Amazing.

And there may be more. Much more. An investigator hired by the Arizona House to probe Irvin's conduct for possible impeachable offenses had recently expanded his inquiry to include possible criminal activities, including alleged fabrication of evidence that could implicate Irvin's wife, Carol. The county attorney is also conducting a criminal investigation.

To their credit, House Speaker Jake Flake, R-Snowflake, and Maricopa County Attorney Richard Romley rejected offers by Irvin to resign in exchange for dropping the investigations, sealing reports and not charging him. Irvin also wanted state taxpayers to pay his legal bills and the jury award.

This guy has a lot of gall. But he apparently can read some handwriting on the wall, if it's written big enough. He resigned soon after Flake rejected his deal offer.

Irvin still claims his behind-the-scenes activities in the utility merger were in the public's interest. He insists he did it all to protect Arizona ratepayers.

Well, let's find out. Let the investigations proceed. Let the investigators fully examine and expose the conduct of Irvin as he held one of the state's most powerful political positions. Let the people judge whether Irvin's secret meetings and phone conversations square with the standards of ethics to which every elected official should be held.

And let prosecutors determine whether there is probable cause to believe laws were broken and, if so, prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.

Irvin claims to want justice. Fine. Let the wheels of justice turn. No deals.

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