Recent news

DeWine was Warned

Apr 13, 2022 4:23 PM

Governor DeWine Was Warned

Governor Mike DeWine had been warned about the corrupt relationship between former PUCO Chairman Sam Randazzo and FirstEnergy Corporation prior to him hand-picking Randazzo for the job.

Despite the evidence, he appointed Randazzo, a decision that would end up costing Ohio ratepayers millions on their electric bills. It’s time for Governor DeWine to clean house at the PUCO.

Our Crime with DeWine campaign video highlights the latest details:

There is no more question of what Governor DeWine and Lt. Gov. Husted knew or when they knew it. The only real questions that remain are why did Governor DeWine ignore the facts in front of him and put Sam Randazzo in charge of the PUCO anyway?

Why would you appoint a fox to guard the hen house? And why isn’t he interested in real PUCO reform now that the evidence is clear?”

Taking on big utilities like FirstEnergy and holding the DeWine/Husted administration accountable for their role in the HB6 scandal are bold moves against powerful actors. Abuses of government and corporate power can't go unchallenged - they'll only get worse.

This is a huge concern

Mar 30, 2022 1:43 PM

Our Crime with DeWine campaign released another video today. Hear the message that Audra from Rocky River has for Governor DeWine, asking him to fight for her as an Ohio consumer rather than protecting utilities who have reigned over Ohio politics and policies for far too long.

We need your help! We are asking everyone to record a short video message to the Governor.

Governor DeWine needs to hear from you!

Our launch video released by the campaign on March 8th has already received nearly 19,000 views on YouTube.

"The disclosure adds new heat to Gov. Mike DeWine, who appointed Sam Randazzo to the PUCO and signed HB 6 within hours of lawmakers passing it."

On the same day Governor Mike DeWine gave his State of the State address, the names of FirstEnergy officials who orchestrated payment of the HB6 bribes were identified

Records reveal FirstEnergy customers' payments were secretly flowing to a dark money group

We need a full picture of FirstEnergy’s political activity and the extent to which utility customers paid for it. Why isn't Governor DeWine calling for a full investigation?

We hope you will take a moment to record a short video message today.

Thanks for speaking out!

DeWine Disappoints Ohioans by Staying Silent on Corruption

Mar 23, 2022 1:18 PM

Ohio group calls out DeWine Administration for failure to address elephant in the room

Statement attributed to Rachael Belz, CEO of Ohio Citizen Action:

Governor Mike DeWine and his Administration may hope that Ohioans did not notice he chose to sweep the House Bill 6 scandal and Public Utilities Commission corruption under the proverbial rug during this year’s State of the State address, but that is not the case. In his first State of the State address since news of the House Bill 6 bribery and racketeering scandal broke, Governor DeWine irresponsibly omitted any discussion of the need for real utility reform and government transparency in his remarks.

Governor DeWine and Lt. Gov. Husted created a culture in Ohio where utilities are in control of politics and policies and cleaning up that mess does not appear to be a priority for them even today. His refusal to acknowledge that his Administration had been touched by the allegations and his refusal to support real reforms around regulated utilities has driven Ohio Citizen Action to launch the Crime with DeWine campaign, asking the Governor to put an end to the free reign enjoyed by Ohio’s top utilities for far too long.

Why is Governor DeWine hiding from the opportunity to be a real leader for Ohio? There are clear actions that can be taken to restore faith and confidence in our state government. Our campaign has asked Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted to do their jobs for all of us by:

  • Donating to charity all campaign contributions received from regulated electric utilities and pledging not to accept any new contributions moving forward
  • Terminating any PUCO staff who have close ties to former Speaker Larry Householder or former PUCO Chairman Sam Randazzo to clean up corruption in the agency and
  • Recommending legislative changes to establish more balance in commissioner appointments to include consumer representation

We all agree that real power should lie with Ohioans, not with Ohio utility companies. No more empty promises, Governor. Stop the culture of corruption in Ohio.

More empty promises

Mar 22, 2022 12:36 PM

Good afternoon Ohio Citizen,

Our Crime with DeWine campaign released another video today. Ohioans like you are demanding more from Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted when it comes to restoring real power to Ohioans and reducing long-time utility influence over politics and policies.

We need everyone to ask Governor Mike DeWine how he plans to clean up the $60 million FirstEnergy corruption scandal that have plagued his administration.

Can we count on you to send the Governor a message?

(thanks to the hundreds of you who already did so)

The video release is accompanied by a digital billboard ad on display at the corner of State Street and High Street by the Riffe Center in downtown Columbus asking for Governor DeWine and Lt. Gov. Husted to say no to campaign contributions from all regulated electric utilities. 

Don't forget to tune in tomorrow at noon for Governor DeWine's first State of the State address since 2019. We'll be watching too. 

Every day, new details reveal how dark money spending reaches right into the heart of Ohio governance and regulation

Judge says “The public has a right to know how it is that the political process was so easily corrupted”

Thanks for speaking out!

Response to "Crime with DeWine" Launch

Mar 18, 2022 11:09 AM

Video from our CEO Rachael Belz highlighting the response to the Crime with DeWine campaign that we launched last Tuesday. Rachael outlines three very specific asks directed at Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted in the wake of the House Bill 6 scandal.

Thank you to all who sent a letter to the Governor!

If you haven't sent a message yet, you still can at Crime with DeWine 


Another way to help:

Please submit a letter to the editor explaining why Governor DeWine needs to end the culture of corruption in Ohio

New developments in the FirstEnergy House Bill 6 corruption scandal:

U.S. District Court Judge John Adams walked out of a March 9 court hearing when a FirstEnergy lawyer evaded his question about "who paid the bribes?" in the House Bill 6 scandal is now pressing attorneys to justify why that information should be shielded from the public.

Larry Householder's trial won't begin until January 2023, but in the meantime he could be violating pre-trial release conditions by contacting witnesses and influencing pending legislation.

Greg Price, a judge who oversees utility cases at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio withdrew himself from four cases involving HB6. He cited the “truly unique circumstances” in play.

Greg Price’s recusal comes shortly after newly released documents show he played a part in policy discussions on HB 6 and responses to the FirstEnergy scandal. 

Please take a moment to write a letter to the editor. Our action page makes it really easy.

Thanks for speaking out!

2021 Year in Review

Mar 09, 2022 2:45 PM

A Letter from CEO, Rachael Belz

Greetings from the front lines of Ohio’s climate movement.

As we all continue to adapt to fallout from the pandemic, I’m proud to say that Ohio Citizen Action and Ohio Consumers Power Alliance have not just reacted but have proactively forged ahead toward our new normal.

I hope that last year heralded a pivot toward reinvigorated government and corporate accountability as part of our new normal. Some of the architects of corrupt House Bill 6 were fired or fined in 2021, and there are more revelations to come. Customers saw some of their money refunded. We’re not finished cleaning up the mess, and we certainly haven’t seen the end of court battles, be they criminal, civil or the court of public opinion. I’m sure you agree it’s not too much to expect government officials to reject bribes and put consumers’ interests above their own or those of their campaign donors.

I really appreciate your support last year and look forward to working with you toward a new normal that values and serves us all -- in 2022 and beyond.

View the full 2021 Year in Review here.

Ohio Citizen Action Launches “Crime with DeWine”

Mar 08, 2022 2:07 PM

Group calls on DeWine and Husted to reject contributions from all regulated utilities 

A prominent Ohio grassroots organizing group has launched a campaign calling 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). After nearly 18 months, the DeWine/Husted administration has failed to take decisive action in the wake of the $61 million scandal surrounding House Bill 6.

“Governor DeWine and Lt. Gov. Husted created a culture in Ohio where utilities are in control of politics,” said Rachael Belz, CEO of Ohio Citizen Action. “They defend their staff and even former PUCO Chair Sam Randazzo in the face of clear and mounting evidence linking them to corruption. Why is Mike DeWine choosing to defend those at the heart of the scandal rather than standing up for Ohioans?”

Ohio Citizen Action unveiled a video on the website which chronicles Governor DeWine’s reactions to the news breaking around the scandal, his refusal to acknowledge that his Administration had been touched by the allegations, and his refusal to support real reforms around regulated utilities. Labeling the effort, “Crime with DeWine,” the campaign spoofs the popular “Wine with DeWine” press conferences conducted by the Governor and Lt. Governor during the early days of
the COVID-19 quarantine.

The effort is not tied to election-related activities or partisan campaigns. Rather, 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.

Ohio ratepayers have been subjected to paying for the bad business decisions and corrupt actions of regulated utilities for decades, with increased charges being levied on every Ohio utility bill today to subsidize coal plants included in House Bill 6. According to documentation from FirstEnergy, former PUCO Chair Sam Randazzo received $4.3 million from FirstEnergy weeks before becoming its top regulator. In addition, recent audit reports have also uncovered that ratepayer dollars were improperly used to fund House Bill 6 dark money lobbying efforts.

“Enough is enough, Governor DeWine,” said Belz. “Campaign cash from Ohio’s top utilities have given them free reign over energy policy for far too long. If the buck truly does stop with your office, then put your money where your mouth is. Donate to charity all campaign contributions received from regulated electric utilities and pledge not to accept any new contributions moving forward.”

While Governor DeWine had been quoted as saying he would not accept contributions from FirstEnergy in this election cycle, the energy company has suspended all political spending, making the pledge moot. However, the Governor and Lt. Governor have made no such pledges about accepting contributions from AEP or other regulated utilities.

“Every day new details emerge, putting the House Bill 6 scandal one step closer to Governor Mike DeWine’s office,” said Belz. “No more empty promises, Governor. Stop the culture of corruption in Ohio. Show Ohio families that you care as much about their bottom line as you do about your own campaign cash. Real power should lie with Ohioans, not with the utility companies.”

Lawmaker supports 'Law and Order Act'

Mar 02, 2022 2:24 PM

NORWALK — House Bill 109 was voted forward by the Ohio House earlier this month and is awaiting a state Senate vote. If approved, it will be with a partisan vote from the gerrymandered Ohio House and Senate Republican majorities.

Ohio Citizen Action, an advocacy group that lobbies in the interest of public health, the environment and protecting democracy and creating a sustainable future, also opposes House Bill 109.

"Public protest is baked-in to our history, rights and character as Americans. But our ability to protest in Ohio is under attack. House Bill 109 equates civil disobedience with terrorism and seeks to shut down and bankrupt organizations exercising free speech," the group said in a news release.

"The so-called Ohio Law and Order Act degrades the ability of Ohioans to peacefully protest and even creates higher fines and prison time for individuals involved in and organizations supporting a protest where action is subjectively deemed a 'riot.'"

"The goal of HB 109 is not protection, but suppression," according to Ohio Citizen Action.

Matt Westerhold, Sandusky Register

PUCO judge blocking HB6 investigation helped write law

Mar 01, 2022 5:24 PM


Idea for Sherwin Williams wall in downtown Cleveland.

More breaking news on the House Bill 6 scandal:

Subpoenaed documents released by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio reveal the roles of former chair Sam Randazzo, current hearing examiner Greg Price and others involved in the House Bill 6 scandal.

Greg Price helped write House Bill 6, now he's blocking investigation

Over the last 18 months, PUCO attorney Greg Price has issued multiple rulings squashing attempts to investigate the bribery that FirstEnergy admitted to in court documents.

Jake Zuckerman from the Ohio Capital Journal reports that the records show Price helped draft the legislative text, received regular updates about its legislative progress, formally reviewed HB 6 for the PUCO, and was briefed on its status as lawmakers launched efforts to repeal it after the FBI arrested former House Speaker Larry Householder.

The fact that Price had a role in crafting House Bill 6 policy and is now limiting what commissioners and the public can learn is an affront to all of us waiting for justice to be served.

Like last week's Toledo Blade editorial said,"PUCO has as much credibility investigating FirstEnergy as Al Capone would have had investigating mob tax evasion.”

Randazzo worked behind the scenes

Former PUCO chairman Samuel Randazzo used at least three different personal email accounts to communicate about HB 6 before he resigned after an FBI raid on his home.

The emails that the PUCO released reveal that Randazzo, whom FirstEnergy has admitted to bribing in the HB 6 scandal, fought efforts to repeal the scandal-ridden HB 6 and was pushed by negative press into ordering FirstEnergy to investigate itself.

Still pulling the strings?

The kicker might be that indicted former House Speaker Larry Householder still communicates with members of the state legislature.

After his arrest, Householder was released on conditions, including he not have any contact with potential witnesses in the case.

Please help us hold policy makers accountable

Just vote already! Repeal ALL of HB6

Feb 17, 2022 1:18 PM

It's past time that Ohio lawmakers repeal ALL of HB 6

Ohio legislators have a golden opportunity to finally repeal all of House Bill 6 by ending the consumer bailout of the two outdated, polluting OVEC coal plants -- one of which is in Indiana. This coal giveaway was added at the last minute to House Bill 6 and is costing Ohio consumers $287,671 every day

FirstEnergy customers will pay for the OVEC plants with their monthly electric bills through 2030 despite not using any of their generated electricity.

Lawmakers must pass SB 117 and HB 351, which would repeal the coal bailouts, provide a refund to Ohio consumers and help reverse some of the damage done by the corruption of HB 6.

Both bills were introduced by Republican legislators and have bipartisan support. Governor Mike Dewine has also said he supports the repeal of the OVEC bailout.

It’s time for our legislators to JUST VOTE ALREADY on these two bills!

Please urge your legislator to repeal the OVEC bailouts