Recent news

Answer Us, Governor DeWine

Jun 22, 2022 4:40 PM

For the past three months, thousands of you have been telling the DeWine administration to reject regulated electric utility campaign contributions and spearhead real, concrete reforms at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. Thank you.

We have been saying that "enough is enough."

The Governor, however, is saying nothing.

Ohio Citizen Action CEO, Rachael Belz, issued the next video in the Crime with DeWine campaign series, demanding a response from the DeWine Administration:

“Today, on behalf of thousands of Ohioans who are supporting these efforts, I am calling directly on Governor DeWine and Lt. Gov. Husted to give us an answer once and for all,” said Ohio Citizen Action CEO Rachael Belz. “Will you pledge to reject ALL regulated electric utility contributions and stop letting utilities dictate energy policy in this state?” 

"We aren’t going away, Governor DeWine. And neither is the stink of corruption around the Ohio Statehouse. This is your chance. We will be waiting for your answer."

The Crime with DeWine effort is not tied to any election-related activities or a partisan campaign. Unlike other efforts aimed at unseating the Governor, this grassroots effort specifically asks Governor DeWine and Lt. Gov Husted to act in their current official administration roles to reduce utility corruption and enact real reforms at the PUCO.


Our "Bribery Bunch" video is still making a splash


Ohio Citizen Action Demands Answers from Governor DeWine

Jun 22, 2022 4:31 PM

Three months after launch of Crime with DeWine, Governor is still ignoring need for reform

Columbus, OH)—Three months ago, Ohio Citizen Action launched “Crime with DeWine,” a campaign calling on Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted to reject regulated electric utility campaign contributions and spearhead real, concrete reforms at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. The campaign has released a new video every Tuesday at 2pm for the last 16 weeks featuring Ohioans from every corner of the state voicing their disappointment in Governor DeWine’s lack of leadership and demanding a response to calls for change. But that response has not come.

Week after week, Ohio ratepayers are submitting videos, making phone calls, sending letters and emails to both Governor DeWine and Lt. Gov. Husted telling them to end the culture of corruption where utilities are in control of politics in Ohio.

They are saying that enough is enough. The Governor, however, is saying nothing.

Today, Ohio Citizen Action CEO Rachael Belz issued the next video in the Crime with DeWine campaign series, demanding a response from the DeWine Administration.

“Today, on behalf of thousands of Ohioans who are supporting these efforts, I am calling directly on Governor DeWine and Lt. Gov. Husted to give us an answer once and for all,” said Ohio Citizen Action CEO Rachael Belz. “Will you pledge to reject ALL regulated electric utility contributions and stop letting utilities dictate energy policy in this state? If we’ve learned anything from the recent life-threatening power outages, it’s that we cannot wait another day to take control of our energy policy and make sure it works for everyone.”

What has been seen instead are the real-life impacts that come from having no comprehensive energy policy for Ohio. House Bill 6 was bought and paid for by utilities like FirstEnergy and AEP, and it dismantled the state’s successful energy efficiency standards. These standards reduced energy usage and decreased demand. A reduction on electricity demands last week could have helped to ease the burden on AEP’s transmission system, keeping the lights and AC on for more than 200,000 customers during a stifling heatwave. It didn’t have to be this way.  

“We aren’t going away, Governor DeWine. And neither is the stink of corruption around the Ohio Statehouse,” said Belz. “This is your chance. We will be waiting for your answer.”

The Crime with DeWine effort is not tied to any election-related activities or a partisan campaign. Unlike other efforts aimed at unseating the Governor, this grassroots effort specifically asks Governor DeWine and Lt. Gov Husted to act in their current official administration roles to reduce utility corruption and enact real reforms at the PUCO.

-- press release, Rachael Belz, Ohio Citizen Action


"Pretty Shady Stuff"

Jun 15, 2022 4:33 PM

It has been a busy few weeks for our Crime with DeWine campaign!

On Wednesday, June 1, our field canvassers took to the streets around the Ohio Statehouse asking ratepayers for their reactions to Governor DeWine’s lack of leadership in the wake of the House Bill 6 scandal. With great shots of our mobile billboard, this week’s video features the responses of real Ohioans.

Governor DeWine needs to hear from you! Please send him a message today.


last week's video:

Last week’s Bribery Bunch video is making the rounds! In only one week, the video has had more than 52,000 views on YouTube, Facebook, and other platforms. Be sure to go back and watch it if you haven't yet and please share to keep it circulating. 


Register to learn: Why Ohio needs the Energy Jobs and Justice Act

This Thursday at noon! Please RSVP to discuss equity, environmental justice, and climate resilience with Rep. Casey Weinstein and Rep Juanita Brent. This will be a question and answer session, so bring your burning questions.

Register here-> http://bit.ly/EJ-Speaker1

Hope to see you there!

 


Cleveland City Council votes to punt FirstEnergy name from stadium

Jun 13, 2022 4:30 PM

Cleveland City Council calls for FirstEnergy to remove name from Browns' stadium

Cleveland City Council delivered some of the best news in recent memory Monday night as they voted 16-1 to pass a resolution asking Akron-based FirstEnergy to voluntarily remove its name from the Browns' stadium.

Councilman Brian Kazy introduced the resolution two weeks ago. Kazy said FirstEnergy has failed to acknowledge its criminal behavior by continuing to market itself using the public’s taxpayer-funded stadium.

Ironically, council noted that FirstEnergy Stadium receives its electricity from Cleveland Public Power. FirstEnergy purchased the naming rights of Cleveland’s football stadium for $107 million in 2013 as part of a 17-year deal.

This is an important first step and we'll keep you informed of any developments.


It's Ohio's most appalling scandal...

On June 7, our Crime with DeWine campaign released The Bribery Bunch,” a parody video recapping the activities stemming from the $61 million bribery and racketeering scandal surrounding House Bill 6.

The video recalls the famous Brady Bunch opening credits to specifically name those most closely related to the scandal, including both Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted.

Bribery and corruption have been tolerated in Ohio for too long. Please tell the Governor that we want the Bribery Bunch OUT.


Youngstown joins Power A Clean Future Ohio

Youngstown is now the 31st Power A Clean Future Ohio Community! And Youngstown didn't just pass a resolution to join PCFO - they also made a bold commitment to cut their greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. 

There are huge opportunities for cities to ramp up their leadership in the global fight against climate change by continuing to increase and accelerate their climate actions. While there is still so much to do, in many cities across Ohio this work is already underway thanks to your support.


Taking the "Crime with DeWine" Campaign to the Streets

Jun 03, 2022 4:16 PM

Taking our campaign to the streets of downtown Columbus

Today, our Crime with DeWine campaign took to the streets around the Ohio Statehouse asking Ohio ratepayers for their reactions to Governor Mike DeWine’s lack of leadership in the wake of the House Bill 6 scandal.

When FirstEnergy isn't being probed by the FBI or slowing down our transition to clean energy, it's busy funneling money to candidates.

We want to see the Governor and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted make the pledge to reject all FirstEnergy contributions now that the FirstEnergy PAC money is flowing again.


Another way to help is to take a moment to watch this week’s Crime with DeWine video release and send Governor DeWine your own message.

 

 


Have You Googled It?

May 27, 2022 11:16 AM

Have you Googled it?

Did you see the John Oliver piece putting Ohio smack in the middle of a not-so-flattering spotlight of utility corruption?

Please take 2 minutes to watch our latest Crime with DeWine video (above) that features a clip from that from Last Week Tonight segment and the results we got when we took Oliver’s advice and Googled our utility company alongside the word "scandal."


Text messages raise more questions about FirstEnergy's relationship with regulators

The Energy News Network just reported that a text message from a former utility regulator chair to a FirstEnergy executive indicates he knew a rate increase he voted to allow was illegal, but that the utility would be allowed to keep the $460 million it had already collected.

If nothing else, the House Bill 6 scandal has revealed exactly how much utilities influence the regulators that are supposed to be managing them.

Take this absolutely stunning text exchange between former PUCO chair Asim Haque and FirstEnergy VP Michael Dowling -- Haque says that he gave FirstEnergy so much that they should put his picture up in their Akron HQ:


FirstEnergy gets back in the political giving game

Just in time for the upcoming elections, FirstEnergy’s political action committee has lifted its ban on making campaign contributions for the first time since the House Bill 6 bribery scandal.

While FirstEnergy’s PAC had paused political spending for the past 19 months, it continued to raise money, having more than $1.8 million in its bank account.

FirstEnergy spokeswoman Jennifer Young said that the utility’s PAC decided to resume political donations following a “comprehensive review” in conjunction with the company’s compliance and legal groups. 


Cleveland City Council resolution calls on FirstEnergy name to be stripped from Cleveland Browns Stadium 

Ward 16 Councilman Brian Kazy's resolution calls on the FirstEnergy name to be stripped from Cleveland Browns stadium for the utility's “failure to fully acknowledge its criminal behavior and unintentionally implies community support for a criminal enterprise.”

Kazy’s legislation cites the public money that has subsidized the stadium and the company; the ongoing FirstEnergy bribery scandal around House Bill 6; and accusations that FirstEnergy tried to undermine Cleveland Public Power.


HB6 on HBO's "Last Week Tonight"

May 19, 2022 4:28 PM

John Oliver's sardonically spot-on maelstrom of truth

In his feature segment on HBO's Last Week Tonight Sunday evening, host John Oliver recounted some highlights of the House Bill 6 scandal to explain how monopoly utilities are raising our bills, corrupting state governments, and slowing down the transition to clean energy. 

Oliver described how FirstEnergy paid $22 million to Sam Randazzo prior to Governor DeWine appointing him as chair of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

“What is very clear is that FirstEnergy was working extremely hard to influence the decision making process. They actually paid the chairman of the state’s utility commission $22 million in consulting fees in the years directly preceding him becoming their regulator”

Watch the segment (discussion of Ohio's scandal starts around 15:35) and learn more about electric utilities, why they're charging you so much, and how they capture regulators to avoid oversight.


"Clean Up Your Own House"

Our latest Crime with DeWine campaign video features Ohioans from around the state who have sent letters to Governor DeWine and Lt. Gov. Husted voicing their frustration that we are still waiting for our leaders to clean up their own house:

https://youtu.be/ByduPX0mNBw

 We need your voice.

If you haven't already, please take a moment to write Governor DeWine and Lt. Gov. Husted today.


 Two more communities join Power A Clean Future Ohio

Some good news: Cuyahoga County and Oakwood Village officially became part of our Power A Clean Future Ohio community! We look forward to working together - sharing resources to reduce emissions and develop smart, sustainable policy actions that improve lives.


A Big Solution to Address Big Problems

May 17, 2022 3:09 PM

The Energy Jobs and Justice Act had its first hearing

Representative Casey Weinstein and Representative Juanita Brent delivered testimony Tuesday supporting HB429, the Energy Jobs And Justice Act.  This legislation launches Ohio’s largest economic development initiative in recent history, prioritizing investments in clean energy jobs and environmental justice programs across the state.

Ohio needs exactly this kind of clean energy policy, one rooted in equity, economic development, and accountability, to recover from House Bill 6.

Big problems require big solutions

Thanks to all who tuned in! If you missed the testimony on HB429, watch it here.

Many others share our enthusiastic support of the bill - read more in the press release.


Crime with DeWine campaign picks up momentum

Please take a minute to watch our latest Crime with DeWine campaign video where Cincinnati residents speak out for a better future. Hundreds of people have already joined the campaign to press our governor for transparency, accountability and real reform at the Public Utilities Commission.

Catch up on all the videos on our YouTube channel and subscribe, so you stay up to date.


Letters from the field

Our door to door field canvass is thriving and organizing communities around local solutions to climate change. We are working with Power A Clean Future Ohio, elected leaders and community members to implement proven actions that protect our climate. People like Robert from University Hts are making their voices heard:


From Our Mailbag

May 04, 2022 2:38 PM

Watch our latest video that features excerpts from letters from Ohioans who are speaking out about the missed opportunities and lack of leadership shown by Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted since the House Bill 6 scandal broke.

We are so grateful and inspired by the hundreds of letters - 845 so far - written to Governor Mike DeWine over our Crime with DeWine website. This entire campaign is a demonstration of how powerful our voices can be when we all speak together. 


FirstEnergy might have bought its way out of a criminal conviction, but upcoming depositions in a shareholder lawsuit could reveal more in the House Bill 6 bribery scheme:

Lawyers of FirstEnergy’s former lobbyist Mike Dowling are set to depose a current representative from FirstEnergy on May 19 and 20. Dowling named individuals in the DeWine administration in related civil lawsuits - specifically Lt. Governor Jon Husted.


The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel is arguing that FirstEnergy should pay nearly $1.5 billion for mis-using a 'grid-modernization' fee the utility collected from ratepayers.

A recent PUCO-commissioned audit found no evidence that FirstEnergy used $456 million collected from Ohioans between 2017 and 2019 directly or indirectly in support of modernizing the electric grid as promised.

The audit noted that FirstEnergy staff, when interviewed, had a “general lack of knowledge on the specifics” of the fee, and neither the PUCO nor FirstEnergy even had a clear definition of what “grid modernization” meant.

Public scrutiny is the only solution to clean up corruption and increase  transparency and accountability.


Kitchen Table Talk

May 04, 2022 2:34 PM

We recently released a new video that features our own Development Officer Melissa English and Cincinnati resident Alison Kromer discussing the House Bill 6 scandal, Governor DeWine's lack of leadership in response, and what needs to be done to clean up corruption at the PUCO.

Two months ago we launched Crime with DeWine to call on Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted to reject regulated electric utility campaign contributions and spearhead reforms at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). 


It's been three years since Ohio lawmakers first introduced HB 6

Much of House Bill 6, the power plant bailout legislation now at the heart of the largest corruption case in Ohio's history, remains on the books.

Kathianne Kowalski from the Energy News Network reports how the HB 6 corruption crisis was both enabled and perpetuated by factors that erode democracy:

Dark money helped Ohio utilities subsidize coal plants, delaying action on climate change at ratepayers’ expense

It's time for Governor Mike DeWine to lead

Thanks to HB6, Ohioans will pay more on our electric bills every single month through 2030 to bail out OVEC coal plants. Customers get nothing in return.

"The most important and direct thing that Ohio can do to fight climate change and air pollution is to end the ridiculous subsidies which Ohioans are paying to keep two coal-burning power plants in operation."

Mark Wallach, Shaker Heights, letter to the editor, cleveland.com. 

Why has the DeWine administration failed to support more wind, solar, and other forms of clean, renewable energy? Why do we continue to pay with our wallets and our health for two failing coal plants?