Thursday, September 25, 2003

The Party of Personal Responsibility

Ah, a lovely tale from Arizona...

Jim Irvin, the embattled Arizona Corporation Commissioner who faces an impeachment probe, resigned Tuesday afternoon. He is also suing the state to cover for his legal fees in a civil trial in which he was slapped with a $60 million judgment for trying to influence a takeover bid of Southwest Gas.

Irvin’s lawyer, Jeff Walsh, said Tuesday afternoon the resignation takes effect immediately. Walsh said Irvin "has found it increasingly difficult to pursue his legal remedies in the courts and, at the same time, defend himself in an impeachment process.”

The announcement came as Irvin’s attorneys prepared to file a claim against the state to recover legal fees and to shield him from being financially liable for actions while in office.


The House's impeachment investigation has centered on Irvin's role in the 1999 takeover bid of Southwest Gas by Southern Union. Officials say Irvin and Rose worked behind the scenes to scuttle Southern Union's bid in favor of a smaller bid by a company called Oneok. Rose stood to make millions as a consultant if Oneok's bid succeeded.

Southern Union sued, and late last year a federal jury hit Irvin with a $60 million punitive-damages award, one of the largest civil penalties in history.