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An ethics panel ruled Thursday that the former top lawyer for the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission violated state law when he presided over cases involving a utility with which he was trying to secure a more lucrative job. The Indiana State Ethics Commission (IURC) found that Scott Storms, the regulatory agency’s former general counsel and chief administrative law judge, twice participated in matters involving Duke Energy Indiana, Inc., while he was negotiating a position as its assistant general counsel. Kelly Karn, deputy general counsel for Duke Energy, testified Thursday that she and Storms communicated approximately 10 times about the position between April and July of 2010. Storms said he didn’t actually apply until August, but e-mails exchanged between Storms and Michael Reed, the president of the Indiana unit that hired him, tell another tale. In an e-mail dated June 27, 2010, Reed told Storms he was still working on the “you” issues with Duke management, adding that Storms should not sense concern. It’s “more of an issue of when and how,” he said. A month later, Reed confirmed in another e-mail that Storms would be securing the open position; the very next day Storms conducted a hearing involving a Duke Energy case. The Ethics Commission found that Storms violated two state codes by participating in decisions in which he had a financial interest and by failing to notify his appointing authority of the potential conflict. Storms was fined $12,120 and barred from ever working for the state again. The fine is three times Storms’s salary gains during the brief time he worked at Duke Energy. (His salary increased from $93,000 at the IURC to $135,000 at Duke Energy.) Storms was fired in November after the scandal broke. In April, Storms presented his side of the story to the Commission. He said there was no conflict of interest in how he handled cases involving Duke while he was seeking a job with the company. The inspector general presented the commission with subpoenaed evidence showing Storms had dated his online application cover letter in late April, according to news reports. But Storms argued that he didn’t hit the “submit” button on his computer until August. According to reports, Storms said he drafted a memo on how he would hand off Duke-related cases to other attorneys to avoid a conflict. A former agency ethics officer signed off on the memo, but then, Storms said, his boss at the agency told him not to apply for the job yet and not to hand off his Duke cases. Storms did not testify before the Commission Thursday. Storms’s attorney, Thomas Farlow, told

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