ICYMI: Cleveland.com Editorial: DeWine, Husted Need to Come Clean on Their Roles in HB 6 Passage
August 22, 2022
Columbus, OH — In case you missed it, the Cleveland.com Editorial Board joined Nan Whaley and Ohio Democrats’ calls for Mike DeWine and Jon Husted to tell Ohio voters what they knew and when about the largest public corruption scandal in Ohio history. The editorial comes after bombshell reporting disclosing messages confirming both DeWine and Husted (State Official 1 and 2 in federal court documents) took an active role in pushing legislation at the center of an $60 million bribery scandal.
“At issue, plainly put: What did DeWine and Husted know, and when did they know it, about the circumstances surrounding the 2019 passage of HB 6, a consumer bailout of FirstEnergy Corp.’s nuclear power plants? What did they do to influence what was in that legislation and to advance its passage? And were they improperly influenced by the Akron-based utility to get DeWine to choose Sam Randazzo as head of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio,” asks the Cleveland.com Editorial Board.
Earlier this year, the Ohio Democratic Party announced a lawsuit against DeWine and his office to get answers about what DeWine knew and when about the largest public corruption scandal in Ohio history. Democratic gubernatorial nominee Nan Whaley has called on DeWine, Husted and their administration to release all private emails, text messages and other communications related to the FirstEnergy scandal.
Since October, Ohio Democrats have been working on getting answers to who knew what and when about the FirstEnergy bribery scandal – which Ohioans continue to pay $287,000 every single day for – but have been stonewalled at every turn by the DeWine administration, leaving public records requests unanswered for over a hundred days. The lack of accountability from DeWine is leading Ohioans to wonder what he’s hiding and why.
Read more from Cleveland.com HERE and below:
- Ohioans deserve straight talk from Gov. Mike DeWine and his lieutenant governor, Jon Husted, about the House Bill 6/FirstEnergy scandal, the biggest corruption case ever to engulf Ohio. But they’re not getting it.
- Ohioans haven’t gotten clear answers to these questions — answers to which they’re entitled, particularly as November’s gubernatorial election nears, with DeWine and Husted seeking re-election.
- Some information is already scarcer than it should be because of the snaillike pace of the PUCO in reviewing FirstEnergy’s conduct. The PUCO probe may further slow at the request of federal prosecutors, who don’t want the PUCO’s review to interfere with the apparently continuing federal investigation of the HB 6 corruption case, with trials of former House Speaker Larry Householder and former Ohio GOP Chairman Matt Borges slated for early next year.
- Among those cheering on HB 6 and reviewing its provisions: Randazzo, whom DeWine had appointed to chair the PUCO in early 2019 and to whom FirstEnergy later revealed it had paid a $4.3 million bribe.
- A text message between FirstEnergy executives recently described by Karen Kasler of the Statehouse News Bureau speaks of then-FirstEnergy CEO Chuck Jones having “forced DeWine/Husted to perform battlefield triage” to get Randazzo named to the PUCO.
- DeWine has said he chose Randazzo because of his utility expertise and that he had no knowledge of any bribe being paid.
- The DeWine administration’s credibility isn’t helped by other text messages that suggest Husted misled the public when he told reporters late last year that his role in House Bill 6′s passage was “none.”
- A recently revealed July 1, 2019 text from then-FirstEnergy Senior Vice President Mike Dowling to Jones referenced Husted’s efforts to extend the HB 6 nuclear bailout to 10 years, rather than the seven years ultimately included when the bill passed.
- Husted recently conceded to Columbus’ NBC4 TV station that he “did share information that I believe is important for policymakers to consider,” but only as a middleman relaying information, adding, “I was advocating for the policy of saving the nuclear power plants.”
- Even after HB 6′s semi-repeal in March 2021, parts of the original bill are costing consumers both money and clean air. Still in effect are consumer-paid subsidies for two coal-burning power plants – one in Indiana. Also still in effect is HB 6′s evisceration of Ohio’s one-time energy efficiency and renewable energy requirements.
- Ohioans have a right to get clear answers to their questions about HB 6. And Mike DeWine and Jon Husted have an obligation to provide them – sooner rather than later.