COLUMBUS — The Ohio Democratic Party today submitted a public records request to the Ohio attorney general’s office to obtain any communication with outside groups or individuals, documents or records related to the effort to repeal House Bill 6 via ballot referendum.
“The alleged criminal conspiracy to bail out FirstEnergy didn’t end after House Bill 6 was signed into law — it continued as Larry Householder and his co-conspirators fought to prevent a ballot referendum campaign from repealing it,” said Ohio Democratic Party spokesperson Kirstin Alvanitakis. “The criminal complaint details how the co-conspirators worked every angle and shook every tree to thwart the ballot campaign, and that’s why we are attempting to learn more about any communications they may have had with the attorney general’s office related to the effort to ensure House Bill 6 would ‘stay law,’ as Householder put it.”
Any communications including emails, texts, voicemails, notes of telephone calls and any other communication, electronic, written or recorded related to House Bill 6, FirstEnergy or the ballot referendum by Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts with legislators or registered lobbyists, from July 23, 2019, to January 21, 2020;
Any communications including Twitter direct messages, emails, texts, voicemails, notes of telephone calls and any other communication, electronic, written or recorded related to House Bill 6, FirstEnergy or the ballot referendum by Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts, between Attorney General Dave Yost, Benjamin Marrison, Glenn Sheller or Michael Rodgers and Kevin Servick, Carlo LoParo, Amy Natoce, Matt Borges, Neil Clark, Jeff Longstreth or Juan Cespedes, from July 23, 2019, to January 21, 2020.
On July 23, 2019, Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 6 into law, starting a 90-day clock for groups to gather petition signatures in any attempt to repeal the legislation via ballot referendum.
On Aug. 12, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost rejected the initial referendum language offered by Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts and required the group to submit a new referendum petition — with 1,000 new petition signatures. This delayed the House Bill 6 repeal effort by several weeks.
On Aug. 29, Yost approved the second referendum petition.
On Sept. 23, at a meeting between Speaker Larry Householder and lobbyist Neil Clark, Clark detailed the effort to thwart the anti-House Bill 6 ballot campaign. Householder said, “It is so important, it is so important, that they are not successful, because when the legislature votes on something, it needs to stay law.”
On Nov. 13, attorneys with the Ohio attorney general’s office filed a brief that asked the Ohio Supreme Court not to answer questions the federal judge had requested the state court determine regarding the constitutionality of the referendum process.
On Dec. 24, the state Supreme Court decided to hear the lawsuit.
On Jan. 21, 2020, the anti-House Bill 6 ballot campaign dropped the suit, citing the immense cost of continuing to pursue it. A spokesman for the campaign said, “We decided we did not have the resources to continue the fight. The heavy-handed spending spree (by opponents) made money a priority. The issues were on our side, but we couldn’t match the spending they were doing. It really tipped the scales against citizen participation and citizen referendum.”