Seven months after publicly saying it was severing ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council last year, Arizona Public Service quietly renewed its membership with the conservative public policy group.
In April 2012, APS announced it would end its relationship with ALEC when the electric company’s membership expired over the summer. Although the move came on the heels of several other large companies that split with ALEC following scrutiny from liberal groups in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida, APS officials said their action was not related to the increasing controversy and anti-ALEC advocacy.
Jessica Pacheco, director of government affairs for APS, said the move was made because APS was looking to cut costs and ALEC was on the chopping block since the company was “not receiving a commensurate amount of value for” what it was paying in dues. She said the money would be better spent supporting Arizona organizations.
But APS spokesman Jim McDonald told the Arizona Capitol Times that the utility renewed its lapsed membership in November 2012. He said APS pays $7,000 in membership fees and an additional $3,000 to have a seat on ALEC’s Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force.
That task force produces model legislation, which legislators then introduce in their states.
“ALEC is a pro-business organization. We support lots of pro-business organizations,” McDonald said. “We’re a proud member of ALEC.”
McDonald described APS as a politically active company that regularly supports pro-business causes because improving Arizona’s economy benefits all residents.
“It would be irresponsible for us not to take part in an array of organizations, and anybody who believes otherwise either is uninformed or they’re trying to create a misimpression that would be harmful to the state,” he said.