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Ex-Indiana Official Indicted On Miscondcut Charges In Duke Energy Cases

An Indiana grand jury has indicted the former chairman of that state's Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) on misconduct charges for his handling of cases involving Duke Energy and a controversial coal gasification plant it's building, the Indianapolis Star reports. David Hardy was fired last year after it was revealed that Duke hired Scott Storms, who had been IURC's top attorney and an administrative law judge. According the Star, the indictment accuses Hardy of: - Aiding and abetting Storms. According to the Star, the indictment says Hardy communicated with employees of Duke regarding Storms' prospective employment. Meanwhile, Storms continued to participate in Duke proceedings. Duke was seeking state approval to pass on to customers part of the plant's construction costs. - Failing to disclose secret, ex parte communications with a Duke employee in 2008 and 2010. The indictment says those conversations were about cost overruns at the power plant, the Star reports. The IURC found no evidence that Storms was biased in his rulings. Still, an ethics panel ruled last spring the Storms violated state ethics laws. The panel fined Storms $12,120 and barred him from working for the state again.