This came home to me with two robocalls in the past couple of days. The first was from Gov. Nathan Deal touting Chuck Eaton for re-election to the PSC. Eaton, of Atlanta, formerly a manufacturer account executive, is seeking his second six-year term. At least Deal didn’t trash Eaton’s challenger, Matt Reid of Decatur, a Georgia Tech grad and consulting engineer.
But a mailer from Eaton arrived charging that Reid is a virtual Democrat in Republican clothing with a record of voting Dem and giving $250 to Barack Obama’s campaign four years ago, documented by GOP campaign consultant and pollster Todd Rehm, editor of GaPundit.com.
The second robocall came from Newt Gingrich who began with: “I’m still humbled to have won Georgia Super Tuesday.” Newt humbled? But he made his point. Then he said, “Today I’m calling to ask you to vote for my good friend Stan Wise,” the career PSC politician from Cobb seeking another term. He’s been there since 1995. Newt, true to form, blasted Wise’s opponent, Pam Davidson, an energy consultant from Paulding County and 2008 challenger of PSC Commissioner Bubba McDonald. Newt dissed her, referring to “the failed liberal California energy programs of his (Wise’s) opponent that lead to blackouts, Solyndra and skyrocketing rates.” Somehow he left out Watergate and Obamacare.
It’s a no-holds-barred fight between Wise and Davidson. She’s attacking him for accepting loads of political contributions from lawyers and employees of utilities regulated by the PSC, the common practice among commissioners. Wise countercharges that Davidson has debt, tax and credibility problems involving academic degrees she claimed to have but didn’t. Voters need to sort it out — and check the money trail.
The issue of contributions to PSC members by people representing utilities regulated by the agency warrants more than passing, election-year discussion. This election, however, voters should give very close scrutiny to Stan Wise’s actions exposed by Tom Crawford’s Georgia Report, to wit:
On June 19 this year Wise received a $5,000 contribution from the Troutman Sanders law firm that has long represented Georgia Power before the PSC — most effectively. That same day Wise reported additional contributions from four Troutman Sanders attorneys individually totaling another $5,000 for a grand total of $10,000.
A scant two days later on June 21, Wise voted in favor of Georgia Power charging ratepayers $3.2 million in expenses involved in outages at Plant Vogtle and Plant Hatch nuclear power plants — even though the PSC’s own engineering consultant had said Georgia Power should pay for what he termed “clearly imprudent nuclear plant outages.”
Commissioners Bubba McDonald and Tim Echols voted to make Georgia Power pay for its mistakes, but Stan Wise voted with Chuck Eaton and Doug Everett (former state representative from Albany elected to the PSC in 2003) to stick customers with the $3.2 million tab.
Wise, Eaton and Everett: looking out for Georgia Power.