Recent news

DeWine aide’s organization was link to now-guilty dark money group

Mar 02, 2021 7:30 PM


"Dan McCarthy, a top aide to Gov. Mike DeWine, hasn’t explained what he thought the point was of the millions funneling through a dark money group he founded and into another at the heart of a huge corruption scandal that has rocked Ohio. He did say, however, that he had no reason to believe it was anything improper.

But the fact that the other dark money group has now pleaded guilty to its role in the corrupt scheme raises questions about what McCarthy did believe the purpose was, if not to conceal the fact that an Ohio utility was financing a scheme to make ratepayers bail out two nuclear reactors it began spinning off a year earlier."

–– Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal (OCJ)

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The guilty pleas are piling up, but Householder remains

Feb 26, 2021 4:27 PM

When lobbying efforts failed to produce subsidies, FirstEnergy resorted to bribery.

When citizens tried to organize a referendum to repeal House Bill 6, FirstEnergy indulged in dirty tactics.

The House Bill 6 scandal continues to unravel, Ohio Citizen :

FirstEnergy admits it used customer money to pass House Bill 6

It turns out that we were paying for the corruption all along. FirstEnergy officials admitted last week that ratepayers paid for political & lobbying efforts, as first reported by @clevelanddotcom. FirstEnergy has so far provided few answers regarding how much customer money was involved, and when/how that money will be refunded to customers.

Coshocton leaders call for Householder removal

All three Coshocton County commissioners as well as several county Republican Party committee members are among those who signed a letter asking House Speaker Bob Cupp to immediately replace Larry Householder as their state representative.

They wrote, "holding an elective office is not a right, it is a privilege and a sacred trust. The State of Ohio deserves to proceed with the work of the people and it is clear to us that Representative Householder cannot effectively serve the interests of Coshocton County while the criminal charges are ongoing.”

A timeline of Speaker Cupp’s inaction on removing Householder from office

Tyler Buchanan from the Ohio Capital Journal put together a timeline showing all of Speaker Cupp’s statements regarding Householder in context with what has happened. 

When asked by a reporter on Thursday whether House Republicans have finally decided whether to expel Householder, Speaker Cupp replied,"No update from last week or the week before or the week before."

DeWine defends top aide embroiled in HB6 scandal

Responding to a press question about FirstEnergy and his top aide Dan McCarthy, Mike DeWine said "I have faith in his integrity."

The feds haven’t accused DeWine’s aide, Legislative Affairs Director Dan McCarthy of wrongdoing, but they refer to his dark-money group in an affidavit supporting Householder’s arrest as an “Energy Pass-Through.”

When he was still a lobbyist for FirstEnergy,McCarthy started a dark money group - Partners For Progress - that formed a link in the money chain between FirstEnergy, Generation Now and the effort to pass HB6.

The coal subsidies - another reason to repeal HB6

The Ohio Valley Electric Corporation (OVEC) coal subsidies are one of the worst aspects of HB6, yet repealing the OVEC provisions is one of the least talked about aspects as the legislature moves forward on piecemeal repeal.

House Bill 6 provides $233,000 a day in subsidies to prop up two 66-year-old coal plants — the Kyger Creek Plant in Cheshire, Ohio, and the Clifty Creek Plant in Madison, Indiana.
Almost $100 million has been collected for the effort so far. 

There are a number of bills moving in the legislature that will repeal parts of House Bill 6, but we continue to advocate for full clean repeal of the entire bill. 

Cincinnati Paves the Way for Equitable, Climate-Forward City Planning

Feb 19, 2021 4:13 PM

CINCINNATI -- "Cincinnati, Ohio, is a midsize city that has attracted attention for its outsized climate action. In early 2020, Cincinnati contracted the nation’s largest municipal solar farm as part of its plan to convert the city government’s power usage to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. The 100 percent renewable energy goal is just one of 80 total recommendations in the 2018 Green Cincinnati Plan, which aims to reduce city carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050 and implement a suite of other projects in the fields of environmental sustainability, environmental justice, and climate resilience. The plan, the third of its kind, acts as the city’s roadmap for climate and environmental action.

According to Carla Walker, Climate Advisor for the City of Cincinnati, the first Green Cincinnati Plan was born out of Cincinnati’s engagement with the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2008. The first plan focused primarily on carbon reduction and sustainability; the second, published in 2013, incorporated climate resilience; and the third and current plan has deepened its engagement with issues of equity and justice.

Beyond this expansion of focus areas, Oliver Kroner, the Sustainability Coordinator for the city's Office of Environment and Sustainability, says the plan has benefited from major advances in science, policy, and technology over the last 10 years. The city has also worked to create a more robust community engagement process, which is central to the creation of the plans.

...The city has made strides to center equity for underserved communities in its community engagement process. Savannah Sullivan, Climate and Community Resilience Analyst at OES, says the city is working on “centering equity within the work, not only with outcomes but also with processes.” She cited work with Groundwork USA on the city’s Climate Safe Neighborhoods project, which analyzes the relationship between historical patterns of urban racial segregation and climate risk to inform the development of participatory resilience plans in at-risk communities."

-- Joesph Glandorf, Environmental and Energy Study Institute

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Owners of two Ohio nuclear plants may decline subsidies

Feb 17, 2021 12:47 PM

Columbus, Ohio (AP) — The new owners of two Ohio nuclear power plants have given indications they are no longer interested in receiving as much as $1 billion in subsidies handed out in a tainted energy bill, according to two state lawmakers.

– Mark Gillispie and Julia Carr Smyth, Associated Press

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'Dark money' group admit involvement in Householder bribery scandal

Feb 17, 2021 12:35 PM

Cincinnati – "Representatives of a dark-money political action committee signed a guilty plea Friday admitting involvement in a massive bribery scheme in Ohio to protect a $1 billion nuclear plant bailout.

The plea agreement comes seven months after the arrest of former Ohio House speaker Larry Householder and several others on charges of participating in what federal prosecutors describe as the largest political corruption case in Ohio history." 

– Sharon Coolidge and Dan Horn, Cincinnati Enquirer

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2020 year in review report now available

Feb 16, 2021 2:05 PM

Relive all the surprises, changes and accomplishments of the last year in our 2020 year in review report. Ohio Citizen Action Executive Director Rachael Belz puts it all into context, from the organization's response to COVID-19, moving both offices and developments in our energy and consumer campaigns. Metzenbaum Society members can expect their hard copies in the mail soon.

Read the full report

Black Leaders call for Repeal of HB 6

Feb 07, 2021 12:44 PM

CLEVELAND – "Over the past year, the pandemic and social protests have only highlighted the disparities. Policies such as House Bill 6 disproportionately affect communities of color, already negatively impacted by pollution, climate change, and lack of access to quality greenspace. These policies rob communities of opportunities to forge their own paths forward in terms of clean energy, generating jobs, stimulating local economies, and creating healthy and safe places to live.

We need to demand action and do so with one voice. House Bill 6 must be replaced with 'just' policies that care for and support communities while transitioning from the old way of doing business. We need policies that are built around an energy economy that empowers rather than exploits, and harms, communities.

It’s time for our state lawmakers to listen to the will of the people. It’s time to restore trust in the legislative process."

–- SeMia Bray, Jacquie Gillon, David Wilson, The Real Deal Press

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Generation Now pleads guilty

Feb 06, 2021 4:44 PM

Generation Now, the 501(c)(4) at the center of the HB6 scandal, is pleading guilty to the federal Racketeering charge

Generation Now admits there was a quid pro quo, that they funneled money to Larry Householder for direct support and passage of House Bill 6. It was a direct bribe.

Generation Now has signed a clear admission of guilt last week and it was filed yesterday in federal court.

Generation Now received tens of millions of dollars that Larry Householder and others used to pay bribes, fund Householder's political activities and run a public campaign supporting House Bill 6.

Please write your legislators and tell them it's time repeal this tainted, corrupt bill 

Governor DeWine’s botched search for a new PUCO commissioner continues and is gathering some scathing editorials:


The Columbus Dispatch : "...That’s another reason for DeWine to go out of his way to make a consumer-friendly appointment: The PUCO’s recent history has been one of favoring utilities over consumers. Lawmakers and other public officeholders are supported by FirstEnergy and other utility campaign with contributions large enough to raise questions about the influence wielded by those donors." -

The Plain Dealer: "Episodes like Randazzo’s crusade against a wind-energy project while he was PUCO chairman demonstrate Ohio’s backward-looking energy policies. The legislature and at times the PUCO have mulishly resisted wind- and solar-energy projects. While the rest of the world moves forward, supporting clean energy, Ohio seems like a livery stable buying more and more horses just as Henry Ford gins up production of the Model T. Any wonder Ohio keeps slipping?"

More could be revealed about the PUCO's role in passing HB6

The Environmental Law & Policy Center and the Ohio Environmental Council last week filed a motion with the Public Utility Commission of Ohio asking that its multiple investigations related to the House Bill 6 scandal be consolidated into one.

One issue they want investigated is what role former PUCO Chairman Sam Randazzo played in the passage of House Bill 6 and whether he corrupted the regulatory process. Sam Randazzo resigned soon after the FBI searched his Columbus townhome and FirstEnergy revealed that former top executives had paid a utility regulator matching his description.

The corruption runs deep and it is time to start digging it out.

FirstEnergy agrees to end 'decoupling' provision

FirstEnergy has agreed to an out-of-court settlement to end a guaranteed profit rider which would have been in addition to the $150 million nuclear bailout in House Bill 6. The agreement calls for Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost's office to stop seeking evidence in a civil lawsuit until after the conclusion of the FBI's criminal investigation. 

Meanwhile, Larry Householder continues to serve in the legislature...

It's hard to believe that Larry Householder is still in office, but House Speaker Bob Cupp continues struggle to find the political will to rid the legislature of this scandal: 

"There isn’t any timetable. We’re still consulting with members. I’d just reiterate that my personal position is the honorable thing for him to do would be resign," Speaker Cupp said on Wednesday.

As one of our members said on facebook, "I won't hold my breath."


FirstEnergy Agrees Not to Seek Subsidy in Agreement With AG

Feb 01, 2021 2:04 PM

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has announced Ohio's largest electric utility has agreed in a settlement to forgo collection of a guaranteed profit subsidy provision in a now-tainted energy bill

CLEVELAND (AP) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced Monday that his office had reached an agreement with FirstEnergy Corp. to stop the collection of a guaranteed profit subsidy included in a tainted energy bill that would have allowed the Akron-based company to collect $102 million from customers this year.

As part of the settlement, FirstEnergy will file a request with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio on Monday to say it will forgo collection of what is known as the conservation support rider or decoupling charge.

...Preventing the decoupling charge and the nuclear plant subsidies from being collected could ultimately save Ohio customers $2 billion, Yost said.

Monday's agreement calls for the attorney general's office to stop seeking evidence in the decoupling lawsuit until after the conclusion of a criminal investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Ohio into an alleged $60 million bribery scheme secretly funded by FirstEnergy to obtain passage of HB6."

-- Mark Gillispie, Associated Press

How Ohio’s controversial HB 6 law pandemic-proofed utilities’ revenue

Jan 28, 2021 2:53 PM

The power plant bailout law included what experts call a distorted version of decoupling that guaranteed utility’s revenue regardless of a downturn in electricity demand.

COLUMBUS -- "In Ohio, FirstEnergy and other utilities had less to worry about, though, thanks to a measure in the state’s controversial power plant bailout law that cut the link between revenues and the amount of electricity sold.

The concept is known as decoupling, and it’s usually used as a tool to overcome utilities’ financial disincentive to invest in energy efficiency and conservation. Utilities that help customers conserve energy still collect the money they need to cover costs and a reasonable return for investors.

In Ohio, however, lawmakers didn’t use decoupling to offset losses due to energy conservation. Instead, HB 6, the law at the heart of an alleged corruption conspiracy, gave utilities that spoonful of sugar without any medicine. In fact, HB 6 eliminated energy efficiency standards for Ohio utilities.

The end result: Amid a pandemic that saw the state’s economy falter, FirstEnergy’s utilities were guaranteed steady revenues — at the expense of ratepayers struggling to make ends meet."

-- Kathiann M Kowalski, Energy News Network

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