During the monthly Public Service Commission (PSC) meeting last week, several concerning actions occurred. In an attempt to play defense in the wake of well documented corruption allegations, Commissioner Brandon Presley made a tacit admission of guilt. After struggling to explain the “legality” of his kick-back racket, Commissioner Presley proceeded to vote in favor of approving electricity transmission lines across the state of Mississippi just months after accepting a $1,000 contribution from the PSC petitioner.
“Whether these pay-for-play schemes are illegal will be addressed by state investigative officials that have confirmed they are currently reviewing the evidence. It’s unquestionable that these actions are unethical and are a continued disservice to the Mississippi ratepayers Commissioner Presley was elected to purportedly protect,” said Mandy Gunasekara.
The vote pertains to a request by a California-based company called Southern Cross Transmission LLC that is seeking to build transmission lines across Mississippi. On April 28, 2023, the company paid Commissioner Brandon Presley $1,000 in campaign contributions. A few months later on July 11, 2023, the company got exactly what it bought from the Commissioner, his vote.
Mississippi utility decisions must never be defined by political contributions and the legislature made such actions illegal after passing reforms in the1990’s. By accepting campaign contributions from entities with matters pending before the PSC, Commissioner Presley has created a cloud of corruption and he must resign immediately.