Dem Lawmakers Demand Accountability from DeWine as HB 6 Bribery Scandal Lands Directly on His Doorstep
July 29, 2021
Columbus, OH — Today, State Representatives Jeffrey Crossman (D-Parma) and Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson) hosted a press conference at the Ohio Statehouse to demand accountability from Mike DeWine following last week’s revelations further tying him and Jon Husted to the largest public corruption scandal in state history.
Reps. Crossman and Weinstein called for a full accounting from DeWine and Husted to the press and the public about what they knew about the scandal and when. Rep. Weinstein further called for the firing of Laurel Dawson and Dan McCarthy, two top-level aides connected to the scandal.
“Since this scandal first broke, it’s been clear that Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted have deep connections to the ringleaders of this massive bribery scheme. Last week’s damning revelations only further intensify the need for unprecedented amounts of transparency and accountability for wrongdoing that resulted in the transfer of billions of dollars from the pockets of hard-working Ohioans to wealthy executives and shareholders at FirstEnergy.” said Rep. Crossman.
“The more we hear from Mike DeWine, the more questions we have. Every time he’s pressed on his connection to the scandal, DeWine seems to have a different answer. Ohioans deserve to know the truth. DeWine has surrounded himself with folks who are deeply involved in this scandal, and it’s past time for them to go and for DeWine to finally come clean,” said Rep. Weinstein.
Late last week, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio outlined various ways that DeWine is connected to the scandal, including top-level staff with direct ties to the scandal that DeWine continues to stand behind even today. DeWine has tried to avoid answering questions on his ties to the scandal and what he knew and when, but Ohio voters deserve full transparency and accountability.
Dawson has admitted to knowing about a $4.3 million payment to Sam Randazzo and hiding this fact from DeWine for several weeks. Dawson had also pushed for Randazzo to be nominated as Chair of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, ignoring concerns raised about his close ties to the industry and the possibility of his corruption.
McCarthy, DeWine’s now Legislative Director, worked as a FirstEnergy lobbyist and helped found Partners for Progress, a dark money group that FirstEnergy funneled money through to politicians they were trying to secure the support of as part of the scandal.
The connections between DeWine and the scandal run deeper, however, as he also took hundreds of thousands of dollars from FirstEnergy and even more from executives tied to the scandal. He also took part in a private meeting with FirstEnergy executives in both Oct. 2018 and Dec. 2018, two meetings which he has not discussed the contents of publicly. He also solicited campaign donations for his daughter’s Greene County Prosecutor’s race, and appointed individuals directly connected to the HB 6 scandal to high-level state positions, including Michael Dowling, a former FirstEnergy VP, and Matt Borges and Juan Cespedes, both of whom were charged in the case.