Assistant general counsel Scott Storms, of Duke Energy Indiana, Inc., is in “hot water” for allegedly seeking a job with Duke Energy of Indiana while he served as general counsel of the state’s regulatory commission. On the surface, that appears to be a patent conflict of interest for Attorney Storms, who is now facing ethics charges. See Ethics Complaint against Scott Storms
Attorneys Storms is in a pickle caused by an apparent lack of judgment. Not exactly the type of conduct that a large multi-state utility should be looking for in an attorney, or perhaps it is. Let us all hope NOT!
What we don’t know at this point in time is what issues Duke Energy had pending before the Indiana public service commission during this period of time, and what role, if any, Attorney Storms had in the matters pending before the state agency.
Matters that typically are before the commission are rate increases, cost recoveries, and disputes over service areas — all of which involve many millions of dollars in disputes for the utility. So, . . .
We as a member of the public have a right to know. The Indiana inspector general’s office accused Storms of breaking state ethics law by “having a financial interest in the outcome of matters involving” the utility while still working at the state, according to the complaint released Friday by the state ethics commission. This is a VERY SERIOUS charge, and if true, warrants a severe penalty for an attorney admitted to the Indiana Bar. If this is all true, then Duke Energy corporate folks should bear some responsibility and punishment for what occurred here.
The ethics complaint accuses Storms of “failing to notify his appointing authority of a potential conflict of interest” and of failing “to make full disclosure of any related financial interest” in matters before the commission. Stay turned for more information in the future. It is a sad story for everyone involved, including the rate payers of Indiana.