FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2021
COLUMBUS — Today, as FirstEnergy agreed to pay $230 million for bribing former PUCO Chair Sam Randazzo to help pass a utility bailout on Ohioans’ dime, Mike DeWine and Ohio’s Republican leadership continue to become further linked to the ongoing scandal.
Mike DeWine was aware of Randazzo’s close ties to FirstEnergy when he selected him to lead the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). Despite repeated warnings, DeWine appointed Randazzo to oversee the very utility company that was in the process of bribing him.
“Randazzo had deep business ties with the state’s largest electric utility and had long been hostile to the development of wind and solar power, making him unsuitable for the role, critics warned early on,” notes the Associated Press.
Within days of his appointment by Mike DeWine to the utilities commission, Randazzo received a $4.3 million payment from FirstEnergy. FirstEnergy later acknowledged the money was likely used to influence Randazzo’s work.
Mike DeWine later met with Randazzo several times, including the day before signing the utility bailout bill (HB 6) into law.
Recent shifts within Governor DeWine’s staff also point to his close ties to this massive scandal. In May of this year, Mike DeWine removed his chief-of-staff, “who played a key role in the appointment of [Randazzo],” and moved her down to an advisory role.
When asked about Mike DeWine’s connection to the ongoing scandal, Acting US Attorney Vidal Patel would only say he can’t and won’t discuss this matter today.
Mike DeWine is the latest Ohio Republican to be intimately tied to this growing scandal. Last year, then-Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives Larry Householder was arrested by the FBI for “likely the largest bribery, money laundering scheme ever perpetrated” in Ohio.
Householder is accused of funneling money to help several Republican candidates in order to win his House Speaker race and pass the massive utility bailout bill (HB 6).
The Ohio House and Senate are both currently controlled by a supermajority of Republican members. Progress Ohio encourages Ohioans to contact House and Senate leadership to demand a full repeal of HB 6.
Contact Ohio House and Senate leadership. Demand a full repeal of HB 6.
- House Speaker Cupp: 614-466-9624 Rep04@OhioHouse.gov
- Senate President Matt Huffman: 614-466-7584 Huffman@OhioSenate.gov