katie hobbs
Partner To Gov. Hobbs’ Advisor Joins Saudi Arabian Company Taking AZ Water Supply

July 30, 2023

By Corinne Murdock |

The partner to Gov. Katie Hobbs’ chief campaign advisor now works as a lobbyist for the Saudi Arabian company targeted for taking the state’s water supply.

The partner, Chad Guzmán, co-manages the lobbying firm Fillmore Strategy with Hobbs’ senior campaign advisor, Joe Wolf. The Saudi Arabian company tapping into Arizona’s dwindling water supply, Fondomonte, enlisted Guzmán’s firm, Signal Peak Consulting, about two months ago according to a Fondomonte spokesperson. However, Fondomonte didn’t register their hire of Guzmán with the secretary of state’s office until Wednesday. Guzmán is the sole member of his firm, which was registered in January. Fillmore Strategy and Signal Peak Consulting have the same address listed on their registration with the Arizona Corporation Commission. 

Guzmán formerly worked as a lobbyist for former Attorney General Tom Horne for one year in 2011, Arizona Public Services (APS) and Pinnacle West Capital Corporation from 2013 to 2020, and EPCOR Water from 2020 to 2023. 

Wolf told The Arizona Republic that he no longer receives payments from Hobbs’ campaign, and that he has no business dealings with Fondomonte.

“Given I’ve never had a contract, been paid by Fondomonte or provided consultation, I’d say this is a nothingburger,” said Wolf. “Chad’s extensive experience over the years makes him a valuable asset to any client and he maintains a separate and solely owned consulting practice, of which I am not involved.”  

In April, Attorney General Kris Mayes revoked Fondomonte’s drill permits for two deep-water wells. Fondomonte received permission under former governor, Doug Ducey, to use Arizona water for growing alfalfa to feed cattle overseas. 

Fondomonte originally grew its alfalfa in Saudi Arabia, but moved their operations due to a long-term drought similar to the one plaguing Arizona. 

Prior to Guzmán, Fondomonte hired Rose Law Group and former Republican congressman John Shadegg: six months earlier on the same day in January.

Hobbs’ office wouldn’t comment on Guzmán’s hire or proximity to her campaign advisor, Wolf.

Wolf came into the spotlight after Project Veritas documented him driving around with an AR-15 to campaign events. Wolf said he traveled with an AR-15 because it was “easier to fire than a handgun.” In a separate clip, Wolf stated that Hobbs would do everything in her power to issue an assault weapons ban.

“There’s nothing she could do about it, at least immediately, right? Except advocating for it publicly, which is really more impactful once you’re governor,” said Wolf. “This state is unfortunately crazy in love with their guns.”

Wolf again came into the spotlight for retrieving Hobbs last October, who fled and hid in a restaurant’s bathroom after reporters attempted to ask her questions about her aversion to discussing policy.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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