Friday, Feb 25, 2005
I was willing to give ICC Chairman Ed Hurley the benefit of the doubt, but I was wrong (and I should have known better, since he’s such a pawn of the utility industry).
In a scathing rebuke, Attorney General Lisa Madigan accused the state panel that polices utilities of breaking Illinois’ open meetings law and ordered it to quit letting power company executives pay for commissioners’ restaurant meals.
Worst of all, Hurley still doesn’t get it.
“I’ve got to assimilate some of this information and determine appropriate behavior, I suppose,” Hurley said of Madigan’s letter. “But again, I don’t think we did anything so terrible.”
The governor’s appointments to the ICC are at the very heart of my problem with him. The contractor contributions, the manipulations, the Elvis posing… that’s all small stuff.
Almost nothing that state government does impacts more people directly than utility regulation. The undeniable fact that this governor has appointed blatantly utility-friendly tools to the ICC - who have then marginalized or ousted pro-consumer staff - completely undercuts his claims that he is a progressive reformer.
His last appointment of a total unknown was designed to please both sides. That wouldn’t have been a bad idea if the ICC wasn’t already so heavily weighted against consumers. He should have appointed a real reformer, like former state Sen. Patrick Welch. But Welch has been told that he was too consumer friendly for the governor’s taste.
Right now, there is only one ICC commissioner who is on the side of consumers, and he was appointed by George Ryan.