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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 […]

Ratepayers spent $166 million and counting bailing out coal plants under law that passed via bribes

BY: - September 15, 2021

Despite several plea deals with federal prosecutors regarding bribery on a massive scale to pass legislation providing a windfall to nuclear and coal companies, Ohio utility customers continue to fund bailouts of failing coal-fired power plants in Ohio and Indiana. In the first half of 2021, Ohio utility customers paid $51 million to subsidize the […]

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 […]

Ohio consumer watchdog asks regulators to revisit coal plant bailouts

BY: - July 13, 2021

A consumer watchdog last week asked state regulators to revisit their decision to allow two Ohio utility companies to pass onto customers their losses on two coal-fired power plants they partially own. The Ohio Consumers Counsel (OCC), which represents residential ratepayers in utility issues, asked the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to revisit its […]

DeWine signs bill giving commissioners ‘kill switch’ on wind, solar projects

BY: - July 13, 2021

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed legislation Monday giving county commissioners new powers to kill wind or solar projects early in their development. No such power exists for local officials for coal mines or oil and gas wells, which are regulated at the state level. If commissioners opt against scuttling a project entirely, Senate Bill 52 […]

New pandemic law takes effect; experts say it undermines public health

BY: - June 23, 2021

As of Wednesday, there are 132 new sheriffs in town. When the new coronavirus emerged in Ohio, state law conferred “ultimate authority in matters of quarantine and isolation” to the Ohio Department of Health. It was the ODH director, and the governor who appointed her, who called the shots. The paradigm shifted Wednesday via 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” […]