They used the cash filtered through dark money groups to elect pro-Householder candidates to legislative seats in 2018 and engineer Householder’s return as House speaker in January 2019, prosecutors say. Householder in turn helped pass House Bill 6, which provided a $1.3 billion bailout to FirstEnergy Solutions. When a referendum campaign sought to block the bill from becoming law, Householder and his allies used the energy company cash to defeat the effort, the feds say.
U.S. Attorney David DeVillers has called it the biggest public bribery scheme in Ohio history.
Federal prosecutors do not identify Company A and two subsidiaries by name in the criminal complaint but it is a reference to Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp., FirstEnergy Solutions and FirstEnergy Service Co. FirstEnergy spun off its generation business into FirstEnergy Solutions, which filed for bankruptcy in March 2018 and emerged in February 2020 as Akron-based Energy Harbor.
FirstEnergy Service Co., provides FirstEnergy with “legal, financial and other corporation support services” and provided most of the money sent to Generation Now, according to an FBI affidavit. First Energy Corp. CEO Chuck Jones also leads FirstEnergy Service Co.
The case is assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Black, who was nominated to the court by President Barack Obama and confirmed in 2010.
Larry Householder leaves U.S. District Court