These questionable campaign contributions are almost certainly one of PATH's claimed income deductions for 2010 under FERC's Uniform System of Accounts in account 426.4, Expenditures for certain civic, political and related activities. The PATH parent companies are using every opportunity, excuse or "error" to shove company expenses into PATH project accounts so they become the financial responsibility of all the ratepayers in the 13-state PJM region.
The FERC USoA definition for 426.4 states:
"This account shall include expenditures for the purpose of influencing public opinion with respect to the election or appointment of public officials, referenda, legislation, or ordinances (either with respect to the possible adoption of new referenda, legislation or ordinances or repeal or modification of existing referenda, legislation or ordinances) or approval, modification, or revocation of franchises; or for the purpose of influencing the decisions of public officials, but shall not include such expenditures which are directly related to appearances before regulatory or other governmental bodies in connection with the reporting utility's existing or proposed operations."
Since the entire PATH project is a proposed operation of the reporting utility (which for the purposes of cost-recovery is Potomac Appalachian Transmission Highline, LLC, and not American Electric Power, Allegheny Energy or other parent company), should PATH be allowed to deduct these kinds of political bribes from their project income?
Let's examine what these contributions were intended to accomplish -- defeat of SB614, which provided for notification of property owners whose property would be subject to eminent domain in PSC cases involving the siting and construction of electric transmission lines in time to petition to intervene and become legal parties to the case. The only thing SB614 provides for is individual notice and an opportunity to become a legal party to the case in order to try to defend individual property rights. I guess the power companies don't like to fight fair -- they want to have the power of eminent domain while shutting the property owner out of the process. They want to silence the property owner's voice. How much of your money will they spend in order to rob you of your right to have a voice?
According to Senator Unger, the power company lobbyist said, "We are sending Senator Unger a message". Well, I have a personal message of my own for American Electric Power -- see you at FERC! PATH's Formula Rate Tariff provides for a process by which their expenses can be examined and challenged by interested parties. If they're going to spend my money this way, I'm certainly interested.
What do you think? Post your comments and be sure to send your own message to PATH on November 2. Despite their best efforts to influence our political process with handfuls of YOUR cash, they can't cast a vote. Do your part to take our state back from the corporate interests who continue to stuff our politicians' pockets with cash in exchange for selling out the citizens' rights.