“Clean Energy” initiative falls far short of required valid signatures to qualify for November ballot

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:
Matthew Benson
mbenson@veridus.com
602-570-7493
July 19, 2018

Comprehensive review finds initiative petitions rife with fraud, forgery and other defects; nearly half of signers not registered to vote

A lawsuit filed in Arizona Superior Court today asserts the “Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona” initiative did not gather the 225,963 valid signatures required in order to qualify for the November ballot. The suit asks the court to enjoin the initiative from being placed on the ballot.

“Our painstaking review of every petition submitted by the initiative campaign has uncovered widespread forgery and deception and an utter disregard for Arizona law and elections procedures. This is truly fraud on a grand scale,” said Matthew Benson, spokesman with Arizonans for Affordable Electricity. “A mountain of evidence makes clear the initiative campaign has fallen far short of submitting the valid signatures necessary to qualify this proposal for the ballot. It’s critical that the court protect Arizona voters and uphold the law by blocking this initiative from proceeding to the ballot.”

Today’s legal filing follows a comprehensive, petition-by-petition review of every signature submitted by the initiative campaign. Key findings include:

 The initiative campaign claims to have submitted 480,464 signatures to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office;

195,339 of these signatures were from individuals not registered to vote in Arizona and, therefore, ineligible to sign the initiative petition;

74,227 signatures were included on improperly or non-notarized petitions;

20,092 signers did not provide a first and last name or failed to sign their full name, as required by law;

12,591 individuals signed the petition more than once;

168 signatures were collected by petition circulators with felony criminal records. Convicted felons are barred by law from circulating an initiative petition unless the individual has had his/her rights restored.

In total, plaintiffs allege no more than 106,441 of the initiative campaign’s signatures are valid – less than half those required to qualify the measure for the ballot. This is a validity rate of approximately 22 percent.

In reviewing the signature petitions, our campaign employed individuals with expertise in handwriting analysis and petition fraud. These experts found markers of fraudulent activity throughout the signature petitions, including: signatures that do not match the voter’s signature on file with his/her registration record; signatures with a strong resemblance to other signatures submitted by the same petition circulator; signatures dated after the circulator affidavit for the petition had been signed and notarized; multiple examples of the same notary making use of multiple, unique notary stamps; and more.

Noteworthy is that state law holds initiative petitions to a higher standard of compliance. According to A.R.S. § 19-102.01(A): “Constitutional and statutory requirements for statewide initiative measures must be strictly construed and persons using the initiative process must strictly comply with those constitutional and statutory requirements.”

“Based on the blatant fraud and obvious defects found among these signature petitions, it is evident the initiative campaign made a calculated decision to submit everything in hoping it would overwhelm any review process,” Benson said. “Requirements governing the initiative petition process and lawful signatures must be more than just words on paper. Our Arizona Constitution is too important to ignore fraud and abuse this blatant.”

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Analysis: Passage of “Clean Energy” initiative would have negligible impacts on Arizona air quality, asthma rates

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CONTACT: Matthew Benson
mbenson@veridus.com
602-570-7493

June 18, 2018

Regulations may worsen air pollution in metro Phoenix as utilities are forced to rely more heavily on gas plants to replace shuttered Palo Verde nuclear plant. The first independent, expert analysis of the “Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona” ballot initiative finds it would have virtually no measurable impact on either air quality or public health for most Arizonans.

The initiative would cement in the Arizona Constitution a mandate that public utilities derive at least 50 percent of their power from renewable sources, excluding nuclear, by 2030. Passage of the regulatory scheme, which mirrors what is already the law in California, is expected to double electricity rates paid by the average APS household.

Now, a new study by Washington, D.C.-based NERA Economic Consulting finds the initiative “cannot be expected to improve reported levels of ozone pollution in areas where most Arizonans live,” and will have “no measurable impact on asthma rates.” “The ‘Clean Energy’ initiative is a fraud,” said Matthew Benson, spokesman with Arizonans for Affordable Electricity. “The initiative campaign is spending millions of dollars to fool Arizona voters into believing California-style energy regulations will clear our air and improve public health. This new analysis finds the proposal will do neither.”

Among the study’s findings:
Emissions from coal-fired power plants across Arizona are “miniscule” contributors to
ground-level ozone in metro Phoenix, accounting for an estimated .7 percent of total
ozone;

Passage of the initiative regulations “may have no effect at all on Phoenix’s ability to
meet EPA’s air pollution health standard.”

This is because the vast majority of ozone pollution in Arizona’s largest counties results from
vehicle emissions, dust from construction and land use activity, and natural or uncontrollable
sources such as wildfires. According to the study, “The initiative cannot be expected to improve
reported levels of ozone pollution in areas where most Arizonans live because it targets power
plant emissions that, in total, already have very little impact on the Phoenix area’s ozone levels, and which the initiative would reduce by only a miniscule amount.”

Passage of the initiative “has almost no prospect of altering whether Arizona’s air is deemed safe from a public health perspective,” according to the analysis. “The changes in ozone estimated to result from the initiative are also so small in absolute terms that they will not affect numbers of emergency room visits for asthma or other illness on high ozone days to any measurable degree.”

Ironically, the study suggests the initiative may actually worsen asthma rates in urban areas.
This is because of an expected increase in ozone-forming emissions – such as nitrogen oxide
(NOx) – as natural gas plants must be built or increasingly relied upon to provide reliable, 24/7 power generation off-setting the expected loss of Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station.
Though Palo Verde is the nation’s largest source of emission’s free electricity, the initiative does not define nuclear as a clean, renewable energy source. Palo Verde executives have consistently said passage of the initiative regulations would render the plant uneconomical and force its closure by the mid-2020s –decades earlier than currently planned.

“These are damning findings for an initiative campaign built on promises of clean air and better
public health,” said Benson. “Beware the fast talk and too-good-to-be-true claims of an
initiative based on lies. Like any huckster, California billionaire Tom Steyer and his out-of-state strategists will be long gone after the election when Arizona voters realize he sold them an expensive bill of goods.”

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Violent felons collecting signatures for “clean energy” initiative campaign, in violation of state law

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May 21, 2018

Violent felons collecting signatures for “clean energy” initiative campaign, in violation of state law

Criminal rap sheets include convictions for kidnapping, vehicular homicide, domestic violence and more; complaint filed with Secretary of State

Multiple individuals registered as petition circulators for the “Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona” initiative campaign are convicted felons. Some have violent criminal rap sheets with past convictions ranging from kidnapping to domestic violence, vehicular homicide and more.

Arizona law prohibits convicted felons from circulating initiative petitions, unless they have had their rights restored. The issue is one of both election integrity and public safety, as petition circulators are dispatched into Arizona communities and paid to interact with the public.

“Clearly, the ‘Clean Energy’ campaign hasn’t done its homework on the men and women collecting initiative signatures on its behalf. The use of felons as petition circulators is not only a violation of Arizona law, it is an outrageous abuse of public safety,” said Matthew Benson, spokesman with Arizonans for Affordable Electricity. “Arizona families should be able to trust that the signature-gatherers approaching them on street corners, in front of public libraries and at other community gathering spots are not violent felons. Yet, that is exactly who the initiative campaign has dispatched – men with felony convictions for kidnapping, domestic violence, aggravated vehicular homicide, burglary, forgery and more.

“We respectfully ask the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office to investigate these serious claims and invalidate any signatures collected by felons in violation of state law.”

The initiative campaign and its signature-collecting firm, Field Works, already face an active criminal probe by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office related to their petition-circulating activities. The campaign must collect and submit at least 225,963 valid signatures by July 5, 2018, in order to qualify its initiative for the November ballot.

Multiple former Field Works employees have signed declarations alleging wrongful termination for failing to meet signature-collection quotas, which are prohibited under state law. Additionally, in April, state Sen. John Kavanagh and Rep. Vince Leach filed a complaint noting the initiative campaign had registered hundreds of inactive petition circulators with the Secretary of State’s Office – an apparent bid to flood the office with dummy registrants, making it more difficult to assess the legality of individuals submitting signatures.

Benson continued, “It now seems clear the initiative registered so many phony petition circulators hoping to hide the ineligible – and, in some cases, dangerous – individuals working on the campaign’s behalf. Whatever the reason, the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office should order the campaign to immediately cease its illegal activities.”

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Media Clips

The Arizona Republic: Want lower utility bills? Say no to this renewable energy mandate

Phoenix Business Journal: Clean energy campaign referred to attorney general’s office for alleged criminal petition activities

Forbes: If Solar And Wind Are So Cheap, Why Are They Making Electricity So Expensive?

S&P Global Market Intelligence: Palo Verde could shut if voters OK 50% renewable energy initiative, APS says

Washington Free Beacon: Steyer’s Arizona Renewables Campaign Gets $0 In Local Support

The Daily Caller: Tom Steyer Campaigning To Close Largest Power Plant In The US

Forbes: Nuclear Power Under Attack Again – This Time From The Ballot Box

Arizona Capitol Times: Billionaire Tom Steyer to spend $2 million on youth vote initiative

EnvironmentalProgress.org: Billionaire Energy Speculator Tom Steyer Bankrolls Arizona Initiative That Would Close America’s Single Largest Source of Clean Energy

The Arizona Republic: Palo Verde nuclear plant could close if renewable-energy measure passes, APS says

Peoria Times: Landmark performance makes Palo Verde a treasure for all Arizonans

Utility DiveAPS funds research linking job losses to renewable energy ballot proposal

Yuma Sun: Study sees loss of jobs if renewable energy mandate approved

Casa Grande Dispatch: ASU study says renewable energy mandate would cost jobs

Arizona Daily StarAPS-financed study predicts Arizona job losses if renewables initiative succeeds

Phoenix Business Journal – Renewable energy initiative could have big impact on jobs, ASU study finds

The Daily Caller:  ‘Arizona’s Not For Sale’: Tom Steyer Faces Wrath After Pushing Green Energy Power Play

Washington Free Beacon: Some Arizona Democrats Rebel Against Tom Steyer-Led Renewable Push

Washington Free Beacon: Arizona Bill Pushes Back Against Tom Steyer-led Ballot Question

Arizona Daily Sun: New proposals call for big boost in renewables in Arizona

Consumer Alert: California-led ballot measure means higher costs for Arizona families [Press Release]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Matthew Benson
mbenson@veridus.com
602-570-7493

Feb. 20, 2018
Consumer Alert: California-led ballot measure means higher costs for Arizona families, lost jobs Statement from Arizonans for Affordable Electricity

“Arizona families and employers face a clear and present threat in the form of an initiative filed today for the November ballot. This proposal seeks to impose burdensome, California-style energy regulations on Arizona – meaning higher electricity costs and reduced power reliability for Arizona families.

“This initiative is bought-and-paid-for by out-of-state special interests – namely, liberal
California billionaire Tom Steyer. He seeks to hijack the Arizona Constitution in order to
benefit his 9-figure energy investments. Arizona families will get stuck paying the bill. “Worst of all, this initiative is cynically marketed under the phony guise of clean energy and public health. Yet a massive loophole specifically exempts Arizona’s 2nd-largest utility company. Don’t be fooled.

“Passage of this initiative would be a setback at a time when Arizona families and
employers are beginning to thrive following the Great Recession. Voters should tell this
bad idea to go back to California.”
– Matthew Benson, spokesman, Arizonans for Affordable Electricity

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ASU Economists: Energy ballot initiative would cost thousands of Arizona jobs, damage economy [Press Release]

ASU Economists: Energy ballot initiative would cost thousands of Arizona jobs, damage economy

April 2, 2018 For Immediate Release

PHOENIX – An independent analysis by the Seidman Research Institute at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business finds that the “Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona” ballot proposal would have devastating immediate and long-term impacts to the Arizona economy.

The initiative – led and financed by California billionaire Tom Steyer – would mandate in the Arizona Constitution that public utilities obtain at least half of their power from renewable resources by 2030. ASU analysts compared how Arizona’s economy would fare under this ballot measure versus the existing scenario in which utilities continue to use an evolving mix of energy sources.

Between now and 2060, the analysis found the proposed ballot initiative would cost the Arizona economy an estimated:

  • 547,000 job years over the 43-year term of the study. (Note: A “job year” is equivalent to one person
    having a job for 12 months. A person with 60 months of continuous job service equals 5 job years.)
  • $72.5 billion in Gross State Product
  • $42.5 billion in disposable personal income

Additionally, Arizona state and local governments would forfeit more than $5.8 billion in combined tax revenues over the life of the analysis, according to ASU economists. This includes an estimated $1.7 billion in reduced property tax, of which the lion’s share – $858 million – would come from K-12 school districts.

“Our analysis clearly demonstrates this ballot initiative would have a significant dampening effect on the Arizona economy,” said Dr. Timothy James, lead author of the ASU study. “Mandating changes in the energy market via the ballot box comes at a real cost – in lost jobs, reduced personal incomes and diminished economic productivity. It is critical that Arizona voters understand all of the ramifications regarding what they may be asked to approve in November.”

Dr. James is the Director of Research and Consulting at the Seidman Research Institute, and a research professor in the Department of Economics at the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU. He’s also a Senior Sustainability Scientist at the Global Institute of Sustainability at ASU.
“We already knew this ballot initiative would hit Arizona families in the pocketbook by doubling electricity bills for the average APS household,” said Matthew Benson, spokesman with Arizonans for Affordable Electricity.

“Now, an independent analysis reveals the initiative would also wallop our economy and cost our K-12 schools more than $850 million in lost property tax revenues. Arizona can’t take that chance. Voters should send these risky regulations back to California.”

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BREAKING: California Mega-Donor Dumps $1 Million In Spending Spree to Buy Arizona Election [Press Release]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Matthew Benson
mbenson@veridus.com
602-570-7493

April 17, 2018

BREAKING: California mega-donor dumps $1 million in spending spree to buy Arizona election

Super PAC funded by liberal activist Tom Steyer is the only donor to an initiative pushing California-style energy regulation at the Arizona ballot box. A campaign-finance report filed today with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office reveals California hedge-fund billionaire Tom Steyer has already spent just shy of $1 million to support the “Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona” ballot initiative. Steyer’s organization, a Super PAC known as NextGen Climate Action, is the only donor on record supporting the initiative.

Steyer’s spending via NextGen Climate Action only represents what occurred between Jan. 1 and
March 31, 2018. Steyer and his associated groups are expected to spend as much as $25 million
to impact Arizona elections this year.

“Every Arizona voter should be alarmed by these campaign spending reports, which detail how a
California billionaire is sparing no expense in his bid to bring costly, California-style energy
regulation to Arizona,” said Arizonans for Affordable Electricity spokesman Matthew Benson. “If
this ballot initiative is successful, it will mean higher electricity costs and reduced power
reliability for Arizona families.”

The Arizona ballot initiative mimics what is already California law – a requirement that public
utilities obtain at least half of their power from renewable sources by 2030. Electricity rates have spiked in California, where energy is approximately 55 percent more costly than Arizona. On a per-kilowatt-hour basis, California residential customers pay rates approximately 40 percent higher than the rest of the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. If the Arizona ballot measure passes, APS estimates it would be forced to double electricity rates for the utility’s average household. Rural Arizona is likely to be hit particularly hard.

“These types of mandates hurt rural residents disproportionately, and our members should not
bear the cost of someone else’s political gains,” said Kirk Gray, CEO and General Manager of
Graham County Electric Cooperative. “Our nonprofit, member-owned cooperatives are governed by locally-elected boards that know and understand the needs of their utilities and the communities they serve. Resource decisions should be left to them and not mandated by out-of- state, billionaire special interests who don’t know the first thing about rural Arizona and don’t care about the impacts on rural Arizona electric rates.”

Graham County Electric Cooperative is based in Pima and serves approximately 6,100 customers in Graham County.

Opposition to the ballot initiative is broad and bipartisan, with business and community leaders
across Arizona voicing concern the proposal will increase costs for Arizona families, kill jobs and hurt the economy. Economists from the Seidman Research Institute at ASU recently indicated
the ballot measure would cost thousands of jobs and dampen economic growth.

Organizations that have announced formal opposition to the ballot measure include: the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, along with local chambers of commerce in Phoenix, Flagstaff and Yuma; Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association; Arizona Republican Party; Arizona Manufacturers Council and much more.

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Arizona Union Workers Oppose Energy Initiative [Press Release]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Matthew Benson
mbenson@veridus.com
602-570-7493

April 12, 2018
Arizona Union Workers Oppose Energy Initiative IBEW Local 387 rejects “Clean Energy for a Health Arizona” proposal, cites negative impacts to Arizona families & economy.

“A ballot initiative recently filed with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office would impose an
inflexible renewable energy mandate that would raise electricity costs for IBEW members and
Arizona families. One estimate found that utility rates would double for the average household,
which concerns us greatly at a time when many families continue to struggle.

“Economically, a recent analysis by the Seidman Research Institute at Arizona State University
indicated this initiative would cost thousands of Arizona jobs. Simply put, working families
represented by IBEW Local 387 would be hurt by this proposal.

“This initiative is NOT an Arizona idea. A California billionaire and environmental activist
named Tom Steyer is spending millions of dollars in an attempt to fool Arizona voters into
locking California energy policy into our State Constitution. It’s worth noting that California
utility bills are 50% more expensive than our own.

“For these reasons, IBEW Local 387 strongly opposes the ‘Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona’
ballot measure.”

– G. David Vandever, Business Manager, IBEW Local 387

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Media Note: IBEW Local Union 387 was chartered in 1939 and represents 1,465 workers across Arizona and New Mexico.

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BREAKING: “Criminal referral” of clean energy campaign to Arizona Attorney General Secretary of State’s Office [Press Release]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Matthew Benson
mbenson@veridus.com
602-570-7493

April 25, 2018
BREAKING: “Criminal referral” of clean energy campaign to Arizona Attorney General Secretary of State’s Office refers complaint filed by Arizona legislators to AG for further investigation Background: Monday, state Sen. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) and Rep. Vince Leach (R-
Tucson) filed a complaint with Attorney General Mark Brnovich and State Election Director Eric Spencer, of the Secretary of State’s Office. The complaint alleged the “Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona” campaign is engaged in petition-gathering activities that violate Arizona elections law and procedures.

Specifically, the campaign is registering hundreds of “petition circulators” with the Secretary of State’s Office – very few of whom are actually collecting signatures to qualify the initiative for the November ballot. The apparent intent: to flood the Secretary of State with inactive registrations, misleading voters and making it virtually impossible to evaluate the legality of individuals submitting signatures.

Now, State Election Director Eric Spencer has issued a “criminal referral” of the matter (attached), asking Attorney General Mark Brnovich to review the complaint in greater detail.
Statement from Matthew Benson, spokesman with Arizonans for Affordable Electricity:

“The sanctity of our elections is critical to every Arizonan. We appreciate the Secretary of State’s Office making this criminal referral to Attorney General Brnovich so that this complaint is fully investigated.

“Based on his shady campaign practices in other states, we know California activist Tom Steyer
and the groups he funds are accustomed to crossing the line. Let it be known that Arizona is on
alert: Tom Steyer may have billions of dollars, but he is not above the law.”

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“Clean Energy” Campaign Violating Arizona Law [Press Release]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Matthew Benson
mbenson@veridus.com
602-570-7493

April 23, 2018
“Clean Energy” campaign violating Arizona law Arizona legislators file formal complaint with Arizona Attorney General and Secretary of State’s Office

Background: Today, state Sen. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) and Rep. Vince Leach (R-
Tucson) filed a formal complaint with Attorney General Mark Brnovich and Election Services Director Eric Spencer of the Secretary of State’s Office. The complaint, which is attached, alleges the “Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona” campaign is engaging in petition-gathering activities that violate Arizona elections law and procedures.

Specifically, the campaign is registering hundreds upon hundreds of “petition circulators” with
the Secretary of State’s Office – very few of whom are actually collecting signatures to qualify the initiative for the November ballot. The intent is to flood the Secretary of State’s Office with inactive registrations, misleading voters and making it virtually impossible to evaluate the legality of individuals submitting signatures.

Statement from Matthew Benson, spokesman with Arizonans for Affordable Electricity:
“It should surprise no one that a campaign solely funded by California billionaire Tom Steyer
believes it is above the law. In this case, the sham “Clean Energy” campaign has registered with
the Secretary of State’s Office nearly 450 individuals as signature gatherers, only a tiny fraction of whom are actually circulating petitions.

“The intent is clear: to mislead voters and disguise potentially ineligible or fraudulent petition circulators among the hundreds upon hundreds who’ve been registered. This is a violation of our state’s elections law and procedures, and Arizona must not stand for it.

“Tom Steyer has a history of playing fast and loose with the law when it comes to elections. In
the run-up to a 2017 gubernatorial election in Virginia, Steyer’s NextGen organization abused
public-records laws in order to obtain, without consent, mobile-phone numbers for 30,000
Virginia students attending public colleges and universities. Bipartisan outrage led to a new law in that state outlawing the shady practice. The Richmond Times-Dispatch even invoked the
embattled Cambridge Analytica when discussing NextGen’s activities, questioning what other
tactics Steyer is using to obtain and misuse personal voter information.

“Arizona has a long history of director democracy via the initiative process. The actions of Tom
Steyer and his initiative campaign are contrary to Arizona values and intended to subvert our
system. Arizonans for Affordable Electricity thanks Sen. Kavanagh and Rep. Leach for bringing
this issue to the public’s attention, and we join them in asking Attorney General Brnovich and
state Election Services Director Spencer to investigate thoroughly.”

Paid for by Arizonans for Affordable Electricity. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

 

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