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A Dark Money Scheme Behind Ohio's Nuclear Bailout

House Speaker Larry Householder draws up the details of his plan to overhaul energy policy in Ohio.
Andy Chow
/
Ohio Public Radio
House Speaker Larry Householder draws up the details of his plan to overhaul energy policy in Ohio in 2019.

In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss the arrest of Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and the federal investigation alleging a $60 million pay-to-play scheme. Ohio Public Radio reporter Andy Chow joins the show.

Listen to Snollygoster on the WOSU Public Media mobile app, on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. And make sure to leave a rating and review!

In this week's episode:
Dark Energy

On Tuesday, federal investigators revealed details of a conspiracy involving Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, who allegedly headed a scheme that funneled $60 million through a dark money group in order to pass a billion-dollar bailout for Ohio's nuclear power plants.

Householder is charged with accepting payments from the dark money group Generation Now for his personal benefit and to help advance his political career, in exchange for securing the passage of the law that imposed customer fees to send $150 million a year to subsidize FirstEnergy Solutions' nuclear plants. Four others were also arrested on Tuesday in connection with the case.

The complaint also alleges that Householder's "enterprise" spent millions to oppose a ballot referendum that sought to overturn the bailout by buying advertisements, mailing flyers, and bribing ballot collectors.

While state legislators from both parties are seeking to overturn the law, Gov. DeWine said he still supports the policy. But on Thursday, DeWine changed course and said the law was "tainted" and should be repealed.

Masked Mandate

After rolling out mask requirements county-by-county for weeks, DeWine issued a statewide mask mandate this week.

The move is sure to be controversial among fellow Republicans, who have been critical of masks, while questions remain about how public health orders can be effectively enforced. 

Send questions and comments to snollygoster@wosu.org.

Steve Brown grew up in nearby Richwood, Ohio and now lives there with his wife and sons. He started his journalism career as a weekend board operator at WOSU while majoring in journalism at Ohio State, where he also wrote for the student newspaper The Lantern and co-founded the organization Students for Public Broadcasting.
Mike Thompson spends much of his time correcting people who mispronounce the name of his hometown – Worcester, Massachusetts. Mike studied broadcast journalism at Syracuse University when he was not running in circles – as a distance runner on the SU track team.