Like a foot soldier of the paranoid fringes on lurid display in alt-right blogs, Checks and Balances’ chief fantasist, Scott Peterson, is a man with a rich imaginative life.
The conspiratorial bubble in which Scott’s obsessions have festered apparently cannot be punctured by facts. Straining for attention, he has again included Arizonans in his fantasies, repeating poppycock which has been debunked in Arizona courts.
Yet I am grateful to Scott for refusing to put aside childish things and for taking to the pages of the Arizona Capitol Times to rehash his delusions, for two reasons.
First, Arizonans will be reminded to shift their spending from companies that sponsor smear artists who cling to an alternative reality in the face of stubborn facts. Second, Scott has done a favor to those of us working to dry up funding for his two-bit blogging operation.
Indeed, Scott has reminded us that his extremist far-left organization, the Checks and Balances Project, is active again in Arizona. Yet again, Scott’s leash has been jerked by his corporate masters, and I fully expect Republican members of the House and Senate to be next on his list.
Airbnb, which has enjoyed a friendly regulatory environment in Arizona, thanks to my former legislative colleagues, is one such corporate sponsor. It takes pride in its support of Checks and Balances. According to Penn State’s Daily Collegian newspaper, “Airbnb representative Nick Papas said Airbnb supports the work CBP does.”
What exactly is this “work?” Smearing, suing or harassing Republicans, such as Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, members of the Arizona Corporation Commission, including four Commission chairs, and yours truly.
Consider the “work” of the group Airbnb supports financially:
In an act of malice, Checks and Balances published my mother’s private mobile number on the Internet. It invaded the privacy of my family and friends by publishing their names and numbers on line. Many received harassing calls. Some feared for their safety.
At a cost of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars and staff time, Checks and Balances sued the Arizona Corporation Commission in an attempt to break the chain of custody of my phone and seize it. Checks and Balances would have accessed – and surely published – private text messages to my family and friends.
I was vindicated in court: Two judges determined that nothing retrieved from my phone met the definition of a public document. Our hero lost in court – every single time.
Desperate to explain away his defeats, and fueled by unshakeable convictions in the face of immovable facts, Scott accused the following of participation in a grand conspiracy:
The Commission’s nonpartisan, career legal staff; nonpartisan investigators of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office; Pinal County Sheriff’s Office investigators; the widely-respected former Solicitor General of Arizona, David Cole; my former policy advisor; all five sitting commissioners; Arizona Attorney General Brnovich; the Commission’s former legal counsel, David Cantelme; and the list goes on.
Until recently, SolarCity, the nation’s largest solar rooftop leasing company, sponsored Checks and Balances and Scott’s creative blogging. SolarCity’s aim was to attack and sue sitting regulators nationwide in an attempt to alter regulatory outcomes and thereby enhance SolarCity’s bottom line.
SolarCity was shamed into withdrawing its support for Checks and Balances.
It is past time for Airbnb to follow SolarCity’s lead and cease funding a band of character assassins, which exists to intimidate citizens – even private ones – at the behest of its corporate sponsors.
Airbnb’s CEO, Brian Chesky, ignored my letter to him, written when I was a sitting member of the Arizona Corporation Commission.
Perhaps the prospect of public shame – and calls to his Arizona lobbying team from legislators who have worked overtime to ensure the friendly regulatory environment Chesky craves – will cause him to ponder his sponsorship of a group that soils the reputation of anyone associated with it.
Scott will continue to luxuriate in his cloak-and-dagger daydreams. Yet my former legislative colleagues can help ensure that he does so without the imprimatur of a corporation that should be deeply ashamed of the company it keeps.
Bob Stump is former chairman of the Arizona Corporation Commission
The views expressed in guest commentaries are those of the author and are not the views of the Arizona Capitol Times.