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FirstEnergy collected $460 million from customers; auditor unsure if it was spent on bribes

BY: - January 18, 2022

There’s no clear evidence to show the $460 million FirstEnergy Corp. charged its customers went to its stated purpose of modernizing the electric grid, a state-commissioned audit found. After three years of FirstEnergy collecting hundreds of millions via the “Distribution Modernization Rider,” a 2019 Ohio Supreme Court ruling blocked the company from continuing to apply […]

Dark money group with Mandel ties named in subpoena in FirstEnergy bribery lawsuit

BY: - December 13, 2021

A former FirstEnergy executive, defending himself in a shareholders’ lawsuit stemming from his alleged role in the company’s statehouse bribery operation, has subpoenaed correspondence with two political operatives with close ties to U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel. Attorneys for Mike Dowling, former senior vice president of external affairs for the utility company, subpoenaed records from […]

Ohio utility regulator lobbied for legislation to save FirstEnergy millions, texts show

BY: - November 9, 2021

Ohio’s top utility regulator quietly lobbied lawmakers to include a provision in the state budget that saved tens of millions for FirstEnergy Corp., text messages from company executives show. FirstEnergy admitted in federal court earlier this year that it funded $60 million to a political nonprofit that wasn’t required to disclose its donors, secretly controlled […]

GOP Ohio senator fought to repeal corrupt law; party leaders drew him out of his district

BY: - September 17, 2021

New lines drawn by state GOP leaders ousted Sen. Mark Romanchuk, a Republican from Richland County, from the district that elected him to his seat in 2020. Since the indictment of the former speaker of the House last summer and subsequent guilty pleas from four alleged co-conspirators, Romanchuk has led the charge among Ohio Republicans […]

Amid corruption scandal, energy money continues to flow to state lawmakers

BY: - August 5, 2021

It’s going to take more than a bribery scandal on a historic scale to get energy money out of Ohio politics. Campaign finance reports, submitted late last week, show the campaign contribution pipeline from the natural gas and utility industries to Ohio lawmakers’ campaign accounts is alive and well. The vast majority went to Republicans, […]

FirstEnergy said it bribed a regulator for $4.3 million. Here’s how it worked.

BY: - July 29, 2021

FirstEnergy admitted in court documents last week it paid the state’s top utility regulator $4.3 million to use his perch to save the company hundreds of millions via friendly administrative rulings. The company’s allegation against Sam Randazzo, former chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, came in a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. […]

DeWine says he didn’t know about alleged $4.3m bribe of utility regulator he appointed

BY: - July 27, 2021

Gov. Mike DeWine distanced himself Monday from a utility regulator he appointed who was accused last week of accepting millions in bribes from FirstEnergy Corp. FirstEnergy said in a court filing last week that it paid Sam Randazzo $22 million in consulting fees in the decade leading up to his appointment as chairman of the […]

FirstEnergy paid $4.3 mil to top energy regulator and reaped the benefits, court docs state

BY: - July 23, 2021

An energy lobbyist who Gov. Mike DeWine appointed as the state’s top regulator of public utilities received $22 million from FirstEnergy Corp. in the decade before his appointment — including $4.3 million paid just before assuming the post and specifically to execute official duties to benefit the Akron-based utility — court documents revealed Thursday. Sam […]

Bar machine operators gave $100k to nonprofit that pleaded guilty in statehouse bribery case

BY: - July 22, 2021

A trade association connected to bar machine operators paid $100,000 to a political nonprofit that pleaded guilty to its role in an alleged bribery operation engineered by the former Speaker of the Ohio House, tax records show. The 2019 payment came from the Fair Gaming Coalition of Ohio (FGCO), which has deep ties to the […]

Nearly a year after a racketeering indictment, Ohio House expels Householder

BY: - June 16, 2021

The Ohio House voted Wednesday to expel Larry Householder, arrested on charges of public corruption nearly one year ago, from the chamber his Republican — and even some Democratic — colleagues thrice elected him to control. The expulsion could mark the end of Householder’s decades-long political career, which has included a previous tenure as speaker […]

Indicted Householder spars with House Republicans who want him out

BY: - June 16, 2021

In a show of defiance, indicted Rep. Larry Householder proclaimed his innocence to House leadership Tuesday and rebuffed bipartisan efforts seeking his ouster. Householder, with his criminal defense attorney periodically whispering in his ear, made a two-pronged argument for himself. For one, he said the allegations against him are just that — “unproven” and “one-sided” […]

Coal plants’ owners fight to protect ‘worst of the bad subsidies’

BY: - June 16, 2021

Subsidy? What subsidy? Three Ohio utilities and a representative of the coal-fired power plants they jointly own appeared before a Senate committee Tuesday to defend an estimated $700 million subsidy they’re set to receive from ratepayers through 2030. The committee met to consider a bipartisan effort to repeal the subsidy, which was codified in 2019 […]