It shouldn’t take a New York pension fund to force FirstEnergy political spending more into the open
"One of the country’s largest pension funds just did what Ohio regulators and lawmakers haven’t managed to do -- force Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. to open up more of its political spending to public scrutiny.
The disclosures -- to be made twice annually on the FirstEnergy website until May 2024, and to be revisited at that time -- don’t include lobbying expenditures. It’s unclear to what extent they’ll cover dark-money spending.
Full transparency is still up to Ohioans to demand -- and Ohio lawmakers to deliver.
Among reforms needed: required disclosure of the recipients of dark-money contributions and tight lobbying transparency requirements, as well.
Also needed is a change in the multiplicity of ways that utilities now can grease the political wheels in Ohio. Such spending has helped ensure the primacy of favored electric utilities like FirstEnergy, both in Ohio law and policy -- and doomed solar and wind energy producers to struggle against political headwinds if they wanted to operate in Ohio.
All Ohioans deserve far more transparency than they’re getting on corporate and utility spending for political causes, candidates and lobbying."
–– Editorial Board, cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer