BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Five of the six candidates for Public Service Commissioner fielded questions from the Baton Rogue Press Club Monday afternoon.
Questions ranged from the Assumption Parish sink hole to a real hot button topic. Do you accept campaign donations from the utility companies you, if elected, would regulate?
Candidate Scott Angelle answered first. "The amount of money that I have been able to generate in my campaign is probably about five to seven percent," Angelle said. "That's far from the funds (in the total generated amount of his campaign) I generated. I view that as an endorsement of me, not my endorsement of them."
Candidate Erich Ponti also says he's taking utility donations. "Yes, I've got very diversified contributions," said Ponti. "But I'm open, as I'm required to be in the legislature, but yes, I have accepted contributions by people regulated by the PSC as well as businesses."
The other three candidates took swipes at the two that accepted the money.
"There's a very important reason why this ethical standard is necessary," said candidate Forrest Wright of New Orleans. "If the election is being funded by a company that's coming back shortly for an increase on rates...expecting to be favorable treatment that is against the public interest."
"Nothing to do with any utility companies at all," said Greg Gaubert of Lafayette. "I think that being a puppet of the utility companies positions that we regulate is not in the best interest of the consumers."
"Even though it's not illegal to take the money given the utility company," said Sarah Holliday of Baton Rouge. "But ethically I feel like how can we regulate the very companies that are before the PSC."
Ed Roy has qualified for the race but did not participate.