Feds to make ‘public corruption’ announcement this morning

Federal authorities will hold a press conference Thursday to make a “public corruption announcement.”

The FBI and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio scheduled a news conference for 11:30 a.m. Thursday in Cincinnati. Officials “will announce court filings related to a conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud,” according to the press release.

The development comes a year and a day after former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and four others were arrested in connection with the state’s largest bribery scheme.

Householder and his allies were accused of spending nearly $61 million to help Householder regain control of the House, pass a $1.3 billion bailout for two FirstEnergy Solutions-owned nuclear plants and defend that law – House Bill 6 – against a ballot initiative to block it. 

Ohio Statehouse corruption:Who you need to know in the federal bribery case

Timeline:Selling out in the Statehouse

In April, Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. disclosed that it was in talks with federal prosecutors for a deferred prosecution agreement.

FirstEnergy Corp. headquarters at Cascade Plaza in downtown Akron

Federal investigators claim FirstEnergy and its affiliated companies donated most of the money that was funneled through dark money groups to fuel Householder’s enterprise. FirstEnergy was listed as Company A in an 80-page criminal complaint signed by FBI Special Agent Blane Wetzel and released in July 2020.

Since then, there’s been little news on the case from federal prosecutors.

House Bill 6, signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine in July 2019, would have charged Ohioans a fee on their electric bills to keep the two nuclear plants open. The law also guaranteed profits for FirstEnergy and continued subsidies for the Ohio Valley Electric Corp.’s coal plants, one of which is in Indiana. 

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