How Deep Will CA Attorney General Dig Into PUC Scandal?

Gov. Jerry Brown must release all his emails connected to the Public Utilities Commission's San Onofre Nuclear power plant scandal. Otherwise, Attorney General Kamala Harris needs to dig deeper to see if he was involved in negotiating a horrendous settlement to the detriment of ratepayers.
 
That can be the only result after the latest bombshell in a long-running dispute around a controversial $4.7 billion settlement to close the faulty plant. According to the San Diego Union Tribune, an affidavit by a state investigator details possible criminal activity by former PUC president Michael Peevey and executives of Southern California Edison in approving a ratepayer-funded bailout of the failed nuclear generators at San Onofre. The missing piece of the puzzle is whether Brown was involved.
 
The PUC is refusing to release more than 60 records tying Brown to the controversial settlement, leading some to speculate that the Governor may have improperly influenced that decision.
 
San Diego attorney Michael Aguirre, who has doggedly uncovered scandal after scandal in connection with the settlement at the PUC. He famously, and publicly, confronted Peevey about San Onofre, and now wants the release of internal documents behind the decision that saddled ratpayers with 70 percent of the $4.7 billion cost. Peevey was run out of office as news emerged of cozy relationships between him and utilities and accusations of improper influence in decision-making, which prompted federal and state investigations. 
 
At a recent hearing related to the emails, a Superior Court judge, while questioning if he had the authority to force disclosure, said, "There’s something about this that just doesn’t sound right, about stonewalling public information like this. That’s the optics of where we are: There’s something the PUC doesn’t want out there." 
 
The PUC claims that the documents it is withholding are protected from disclosure. PUC lawyers also claimed the judge has no jurisdiction because any disputes over commission decisions must go to the Appellate or Supreme Court. Aguirre says that because these are public records, not about commission proceedings, the issue should be handled first in Superior Court. 
 
In a 2013 email released earlier by Edison at the order of the PUC, Ted Craver, CEO of Edison International, called Brown the day before the company announced plans to decommission San Onofre.
 
"I indicated that I imagined his office would get media calls tomorrow about this and would be looking for his reaction,” Craver wrote to his board of directors. “I indicated that if he was so moved, it would help if he could indicate we had talked and that he thought the company was acting responsibly and focused on the right things. He indicated a willingness to do that.”
Brown vetoed legislation earlier this year that would have reformed the PUC, including one bill that would have allowed the public to sue in Superior Court if the commission refused to release any public records, whether related to PUC proceedings or not. The latest revelations make one wonder whether Brown is hiding something.
 
Either the governor needs to come clean about his involvement in the San Onofre settlement, or the Attorney General needs to do it for him. Who will look out for the ratepayers first? 

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