OCJ: Gov. Mike DeWine and his administration played a hands-on role passing an allegedly pay-for-play nuclear bailout and appointing an industry-friendly regulator who has since been accused of taking a $4.3 million bribe, documents and messages show.
Calendar records show DeWine, a Republican, met repeatedly to discuss energy policy with FirstEnergy Corp. officials and at least once with GOP House Speaker Larry Householder, who has been criminally accused of taking a separate, multimillion-dollar bribe from the company to pass the bailout.
Despite a cautionary letter from environmental groups and a 198-page dossier from his former campaign staffer warning against the move, DeWine appointed Sam Randazzo in 2019 to the head of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. FirstEnergy last summer admitted it paid Randazzo a $4.3 million bribe. Randazzo has not been charged with a crime and denies wrongdoing.
Newly released text messages show FirstEnergy executives describing an open line with the administration on the selection and inside support from Ohio’s chief executive.
“When the Gov Elect asked me about attributes, I listed integrity, work ethic, creativity, thick skin, circumspection in public statements,” FirstEnergy’s then CEO texted Randazzo about the open PUCO seat in December 2018, just before DeWine took office. more here