Ohio Capital Journal: Commentary: DeWine Can’t Run from Energy Bailout Bribery Scandal as Dirty Laundry Keeps Piling Up
February 1, 2022
For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, February 1, 2022
“It’s hard to escape dirty laundry that keeps piling up when you can’t hide under a rock anymore.”
Columbus, OH — In case you missed it, the Ohio Capital Journal today called out Mike DeWine and his deep connections to the largest public corruption scandal in state history. The commentary pointed out the various scandals DeWine has tried to distance himself from, a campaign strategy that won’t work this year as Ohio Democrats continue fighting to hold DeWine and his administration accountable.
“This outrage happened on DeWine’s watch and with his blessing. Ohioans didn’t know how crooked House Bill 6 was or how many politicians, including the governor, were willing to look away until federal prosecutors blew the lid off the alleged criminal enterprise to screw ratepayers in return for boosted political careers,” writes Ohio Capital Journal.
Last week, the Ohio Democratic Party announced the filing of several public records requests to get answers from Mike DeWine, Jon Husted and their administration about who knew what and when about the HB 6 scandal. The party will continue seeking answers on behalf of Ohio voters who continue spending more than $230,000 a day for the bribery scheme ringled by Ohio Republicans.
Read more from the Ohio Capital Journal here and below:
- Follow the money. Its corrupting influence runs through all the great scandals piling up in Ohio under Republican rule. From the biggest online charter school rip-off of tax dollars to the largest public corruption indictment in state history, money has paved the way to epic wrongdoing under GOP management.
- But when people in high places slip on hubris and expose brazen graft at public expense — and they always do — the swarm of politicians who were only too happy to pocket donor checks and look the other way scatter like insects under a rock that’s been lifted.
- Republican Gov. Mike DeWine is one of those spooked bugs racing away from his political entanglement in the blockbuster bribery and money-laundering case that goes to trial this year.
- The state’s largest electric utility pumped $1 million into groups backing DeWine in 2018, according to a Dayton Daily News investigation following the money. The company also pumped big bucks into groups helping his daughter’s failed campaign for county prosecutor.
- DeWine hired multiple administration staffers and advisors with close ties to FirstEnergy, including a former top aide linked to one of the dark money groups implicated in passage of the bailout legislation (House Bill 6) written for and by the utility.
- The governor also appointed and steadfastly supported Ohio’s former top utility regulator, now accused of profiting in association with the FirstEnergy scandal. DeWine knew of Sam Randazzo’s deep business relationship with the utility when he chose him at the urging of company executives.
- But even damning disclosures of Randazzo’s $4.3 million utility bribe and his blatant efforts on behalf of FirstEnergy — constructing House Bill 6, delaying a company rate case, lobbying for legislation to save the utility millions — didn’t dissuade DeWine from expressing “great confidence” in his regulator.
- Even after the FBI raided Randazzo’s home as part of the FirstEnergy bribery probe and he resigned under a cloud of suspicion, DeWine praised him for doing “very, very good work as chair.”
- Eighteen months on, the DeWine-appointed nominating council that recommends PUCO candidates to the governor includes members tied to passage of the notorious bailout bill.
- Even after the FBI arrested former House Speaker Larry Householder, who engineered approval of House Bill 6 and was subsequently charged with taking money to pass it, DeWine rejected an effort to repeal the corruption-ridden legislation. “We need balance in our energy,” was all he could say about a bill passed with more than $60 million in bribe money.
- He had put the full weight of the governor’s office behind the nuclear bailout bill and signed the corrupt measure into law the very day it passed. The “energy” legislation championed by DeWine also put ratepayers on the hook to bail out two money-losing, hyper-polluting coal plants (one in Indiana) partially owned by other utilities and two FirstEnergy subsidiaries.
- Don’t hold your breath. But remember, this outrage happened on DeWine’s watch and with his blessing. Ohioans didn’t know how crooked House Bill 6 was or how many politicians, including the governor, were willing to look away until federal prosecutors blew the lid off the alleged criminal enterprise to screw ratepayers in return for boosted political careers.
- DeWine is understandably trying to put as much distance as possible between his reelection campaign and the biggest open investigation of Statehouse corruption in the country.
- But it’s hard to escape dirty laundry that keeps piling up when you can’t hide under a rock anymore.