Advocacy group claims connections between Johnson Utilities owner, state officials

Emily Kirkland

ProgressNow Arizona, an advocacy group, will launch the AZ Watergate campaign at a press conference Tuesday, Feb. 20, in San Tan Valley.

It will feature environmental advocates, policy experts and Johnson Utilities customers.

The new campaign — which includes a short video that will run as a digital ad in Pinal County as well as a website — highlights the connections between George Johnson, the owner of Johnson Utilities, and top Arizona elected officials, including Gov. Doug Ducey.

Despite a long record of delivering poor service and, at times, unsafe water to customers, Mr. Johnson has been a significant political donor, especially to Arizona Republican candidates.

Mr. Johnson is also facing trial for alleged bribery in May alongside former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce and top Republican lobbyist Jim Norton.

The campaign calls on elected officials to cut their ties to Mr. Johnson, address a culture of corruption at the Arizona Corporation Commission and take steps to ensure clean water and adequate service in Pinal County.

The Arizona Watergate campaign will be launched at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 33622 N. Mountain Vista Blvd. in San Tan Valley.

The press conference will occur immediately after the first round of Arizona Corporation Commission hearings on a proposed Johnson Utilities rate increase.

It will feature speakers from ProgressNow Arizona, Arizona Advocacy Network and Chispa as well as Johnson Utilities customers.

Emily Kirkland
Progress Now Arizona

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