Nuclear Bailout Corruption Investigation Featured In Many Statehouse Races
The down ballot races are heating up in the fight over Ohio House and Senate seats. In the spotlight of many campaigns is one of the largest corruption investigations Ohio has ever seen, and the energy bill at the heart of the case.
House and Senate campaigns are using the nuclear bailout, which investigators say was passed into law through a $61 million bribery scheme, in mailers and door-to-door canvassers.
Micah Derry, state director for Americans for Prosperity Ohio, says that's because there's broad awareness and opposition to HB6 among voters.
"That's kind of once in a political generation, it only makes sense the parties are going to do everything they can to capitalize on that," Derry said.
HB6 bails out two nuclear power plants through $150 million in annual ratepayer subsidies. The bill also allows subsidies for coal plants and solar farms, while rolling back renewable energy standards and eliminated energy efficiency mandates.
More than 80 candidates in the Ohio House and Senate are running with a voting record either for or against HB6.
Derry's group is endorsing nine House candidates and using the incumbents' votes against HB6 as part of their mailers. He notes several campaigns are trying to connect the opposition to either the bill or the indicted former House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford).
The Ohio House Democratic Caucus campaign says they're also using the federal racketeering investigation involving HB6 in their political mailers. However, instead of directly noting HB6, the caucus is pointing to what they see as a culture of corruption among Republican leadership in the House.
Voters and political operatives around the state have noted some mailers have accused candidates of being a part of the alleged corruption even when they did not vote for HB6 or for Householder as speaker. There are other examples of trying to tie candidates to the scandal who are not even in the House.