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Text messages reveal Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted's role in nuclear bailout law

Ohio Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted speaks during the announcement on Friday Jan. 21, 2022 in Newark, Ohio, that Intel will invest $20 billion to build two computer chip factories on a 1,000-acre site in Licking County, Ohio, just east of Columbus.
Paul Vernon
/
AP
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted

Newly-released text messages show that Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted worked diligently behind the scenes to pass HB6, the nuclear power plant bailout law.

In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss what this new information means in the ongoing saga of the $60 million bribery scandal that led to multiple arrests and indictments.

Ohio Public Radio Statehouse News Bureau correspondent Andy Chow joins the show.

"Good policy"

In 2019, then-Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder led the passage of the law that would have sent a billion dollars in ratepayer subsidies to prop up some nuclear and coal-fired power plants.

Householder is now charged with leading what prosecutors call the state’s largest bribery scheme ever when he allegedly took about $60 million from FirstEnergy and its subsidiaries to get the law passed.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed it into law and one of its biggest supporters was Lt. Gov. Jon Husted. Now some newly-released text messages show more detail on his role.

The texts reveal his contact with energy executives but do not suggest Husted was part of any wrongdoing.

Federal Spending

Politicians around the state are reacting to what is now known as the Inflation Reduction Act, a wide-reaching spending bill that was previously dubbed the Climate and Tax package.

It includes $360 billion to address climate change. It does that by helping build more solar and wind power, making buildings more energy efficient, and helping people buy electric vehicles.

None of the Ohio Republicans in Congress voted for this.

Snollygoster of the week

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Tim Ryan deployed an interesting fundraising technique this week.

He tweeted on Wednesday, “Ugh. I wish I didn't have to share this, but we messed up. My team thought we reached our critical mid-quarter deadline yesterday but we miscalculated. Look, we're all human. But now we're $10K short and a mistake like this could cost us the election unless you help us catch up.”

The next tweet in the thread said he’s not here to beg, but “humbly” asked people to donate $25.

It’s a pretty common fundraising gimmick but it’s still weird and while it’s possible that an accounting team made a mistake, it’s probably a contrived and calculated attempt to rake in some last-minute donations.

If you have a suggestion for next week's Snollygoster of the Week award, a question or a comment, send them to snollygoster@wosu.org.

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