Ohio’s top lawyer sues to stop payments to FirstEnergy

Local News

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a civil lawsuit Wednesday asking a judge to stop the payment of money from House Bill 6.

“Ohioans should care about this because we need to be able to count on our lawmaking process to not have this kind of corruption involved,” said Yost. “Regular Ohioans should be glad to know that people are going to be held accountable.”

In July, former House Speaker Larry Householder and four of his colleagues were arrested and accused of orchestrating a $60 million bribery scheme to pass House Bill 6. The bill provided a billion-dollar bailout to nuclear power plants.

The civil lawsuit claims the scandal has damaged Ohioans’ finances, trust in the legislative process and the state’s reputation. Householder, Generation Now, and FirstEnergy are labeled as defendants in the lawsuit. Yost is asking a judge to stop the nuclear bailout payment from going to FirstEnergy.

“A message is sent to everybody that wants to get private gain out of the public good that they’re being watched,” said Yost.

In a statement, FirstEnergy wrote in part:

While we do not comment on pending litigation as a matter of policy, our CEO Chuck Jones said during a recent earnings call that he believes FirstEnergy acted properly in this matter and intends to ensure our Company and our role in supporting HB 6 are understood as accurately as possible. Ethical behavior and upholding the highest standards of conduct are foundational values for the entire FirstEnergy family. We strive to apply these standards in all business dealings, including our participation in the political process.

FirstEnergy statement

ProgressOhio, a liberal think tank, is calling for independent council citing Yost’s ties to Matt Borges as a reason he can’t be objective. Borges served as Yost’s campaign manager and is facing federal charges for his alleged connection to the House Bill 6 scandal.

“We think it’s incredibly important that there is real justice here and that there is a real independent investigation into everything that happened,” said Michael McGovern, managing director of ProgressOhio.

Yost responded to the accusation.

“I call balls and strikes and hey look I sued these folks,” said Yost.

This lawsuit may stop payment from going to the energy company. Rate payers could still see a charge on their bill starting in January if House Bill 6 is not repealed. The House Committee on Energy Policy and Oversight debated Wednesday to repeal the law.

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