Columbus, Ohio — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost on Wednesday announced the filing of litigation to block the payment of nuclear bailout money stemming from House Bill 6.
“Ohio laws should not be built on the basis of fraud, deceit and intimidation,” Yost said. “Given the corruption surrounding House Bill 6, it is proper to block these ill-gotten gains from filling the coffers of those under criminal indictment.”
The civil lawsuit seeks to prevent the owner of two Northern Ohio nuclear power plants from receiving proceeds of funds collected pursuant to the utility surcharge provided for in House Bill 6.
Former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) and four of his associates were arrested in July on racketeering charges related to a federal corruption investigation involving FirstEnergy, which owns the Perry and Davis-Besse power plants through a subsidiary, Energy Harbor.
FirstEnergy, an Akron-based energy company, is accused of paying Householder and his associates $61 million to get a $1.5 billion nuclear bailout from taxpayers in what prosecutors are calling the largest bribery scandal in Ohio history.
An 80-page criminal complaint unsealed in July says that “Company A,” the former FirstEnergy Solutions of Akron, worked to save its failing nuclear plants by funneling $61 million into Generation Now, a 501(c)(4) “dark-money” group controlled by Householder.
Leading up to the vote on and passage of House Bill 6, FirstEnergy’s associated political action committees (PACs) also shoveled hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to various lawmakers throughout the state, including state Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin).
The bill passed the Ohio House of Representatives in May 2019; the Ohio Senate (with amendments) in July 2019; then the House concurred with those changes a week later. The bill was then signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine (R).
House Bill 6 added $1.5 billion in additional taxpayer bailouts to the $10.2 billion that Akron-based FirstEnergy Solutions and its former parent company, FirstEnergy Corp, have received from taxpayers since 1999.
Under the legislation, from 2021 until 2027, every Ohio electricity customer has to pay a new monthly surcharge that ranges from 85 cents for residential customers to $2,400 for large industrial plants. Additionally, electricity customers around the state have to pay up to $1.50 monthly, and up to $1,500 per month for commercial and industrial customers, to subsidize coal plants in Ohio and Indiana run by the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation.
Here’s the full lawsuit filed by Yost: