Mudslinging abound for clean energy initiative in Arizona, as deadline nears

The deadline for submitting petitions to get on the 2018 ballot is this Thursday. One clean-energy proposal would require most utilities to generate half of their electricity from renewable sources by the year 2030.

However, APS contends the initiative would force utility bills to skyrocket, and both sides are now accusing each other of missteps in signature gathering.

One group said the petitioners themselves are convicted felons trying to get your information, while the other group says there is a whole bunch of bribes being offered to get out of town.

"If they stop hiring convicted felons, we'll stop telling people about it," said Matt Benson with Arizonans for Affordable Electricity.

"We were surprised to learn that APS has been bribing petition circulators," said Rodd McLeod with Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona.

The accusations are flying around ahead of the deadline for petitions in Arizona on Thursday. While RedforED's initiative is getting the attention, a push to force APS to use renewable energy sources has been full of mudslinging.

"We know for a fact that their campaign has hired at least 44 convicted felons to carry their signature petitions," said Benson. "That's a violation of state law."

According to the relevant laws in the Arizona Revised Statute:

Mcleod says his petitioners go through a thorough background check. Meanwhile, there are accusations that petitioners are being paid to leave the state.

"He's offered them $5,000 each, the team leaders, he's offered $7,500 to stop working and leave the state," said McLeod.

McLeod says prove is in these screenshots of text messages and emails.

"They just keep trying to distract people with these pathetic charges," said mcLeod.

The back and forth proves that it's a contentious time for petitioners.

"This is a very competitive market for petition circulators," said Benson. "Those firms are routinely trying to recruit each others work force. So this is totally normal."

FOX 10 has reached out to the Secretary of State's office to see where the complaint stands.