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Frontlines

Fortnightly Magazine - January 15 1999

Mexico Industrial Energy Consumers, an intervenor that sought market-based rate cuts from PNM. In fact, Shirley once practiced law with Lewis Campbell, the attorney who represented REI in its successful bid for a certificate of convenience.

But there's more. Twelve years ago, a federal judge handed down a three-year sentence to former utility consultant Bruce Poster for attempting to extort $120,000 from PNM in exchange for agreeing to stop testifying for the state Attorney General in rate cases against PNM. According to an article published in the Albuquerque Journal in on June 7, 1986, Poster had gone for advice to Shirley, who then worked in the Attorney General's office, and who reportedly advised Poster that he thought the extortion scheme was "immoral," but could not say for sure whether it was illegal.

New York lawyer Douglas Hawes ties up at least one of the loose ends. Writing in 1987 his textbook, Utility Holding Companies, Hawes notes that as the extortionist Poster was accosting PNM, he specifically requested that if PNM should ever pay the $120,000 shakedown fee, it should not charge the amount to ratepayers.

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