Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation today interviewed former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce and Corporation Commission staffers as part of a probe into the 2014 elections.
The FBI confirmed that it is probing the elections two years ago.
Agency spokesman Matthew Reinsmoen said the FBI is currently conducting a “long term investigation related to the financing of certain statewide races in the 2014 election cycle.”
Pierce confirmed that two agents were at his home, which also serves as his office. A Corporation Commission spokeswoman confirmed that agents also showed up at the state agency seeking information.
Pierce said it wasn’t a raid, and he wasn’t served with any documents.
“The FBI came over and showed up at my door about 11 o’clock today, and we sat down and had an interview,” Pierce said. “They were cordial, polite, [and] asked me some questions relative to the 2014 election.”
He added: “They’re trying to arrive at the truth.”
Pierce said he fully cooperated with the investigators, who also asked him not to divulge much information about his conversation with them.
“They’ve got some things they want to do and talk to folks they’d like to talk to, and I was just one of them,” he said.
Corporation Commission spokeswoman Angie Holdsworth said the state agency was contacted as part of an ongoing FBI investigation and “is cooperating to the fullest extent possible.”
Pierce hinted that politics might be behind the FBI’s investigation, although he was careful to emphasize he doesn’t think the authorities are politically motivated.
“I think the sources of a lot of this stuff [are] just folks with a political agenda, and I think the various authorities are going to sift their way through and figure it out,” he said.
Pierce retired from the Arizona Corporation Commission in 2014. He was elected to the commission in 2006 and 2010, and served as its chairman in his last two years in office.
His son, Justin Pierce, unsuccessfully ran for the secretary of state’s office two years ago.
During the campaign, Wil Cardon, one of Justin Pierce’s Republican opponents, accused the father and son of using Gary Pierce’s position as a corporation commissioner to gain support for Justin Pierce from groups with business before the commission. Both Gary and Justin Pierce have denied the allegations.
Justin Pierce’s campaign flatly denied any suggestion that he sought to capitalize on his father’s position as a regulator to get support from individuals and companies that do business with the Corporation Commission. His camp also shot back at Cardon, calling the insinuation “false and inaccurate” and said this was all part of the businessman’s “dirty campaign tricks and tactics.’’
APS spokesman Jim McDonald said, “Pinnacle West has been contacted by the U.S. Attorney and will be cooperating fully.”