Ohio taxpayers bilked again

To the Editor:

Once again we see how Ohio taxpayers are getting bilked by the very people we send to Columbus. Larry Householder, Ohio’s Speaker of the House, is in the headlines again. The last time was in 2004 when the FBI investigated him for allegations related to taking kickbacks. This time, the issue concerns Householder’s efforts to engineer Ohio’s bailout of the former Davis Besse & Perry nuclear power plants managed by First Energy. The company came out of bankruptcy in 2020 as Energy Harbor Corporation. All this to the tune of $1.0 billion in taxpayer funded dollars.

The FBI arrested Householder and several others as part of a $60 million racketeering and bribery investigation. This case has the potential to become one of the largest public corruption cases in Ohio’s history. Under the terms of bailout, every Ohio electrical consumer will pay a surcharge that will cost Ohioans $170 million a year. More than 88 percent of that money will be funneled directly back to FirstEnergy Solutions, now known as Energy Harbor Corp. that will largely benefit their stockholders.

Householder’s arrest will not end this investigation. Investigators will follow the money that was used to influence other legislators to vote for passage of the bailout. It’s worth noting here that most of the candidates that Speaker Householder backed in the previous election, like our current Representative Jena Powell won their elections. Interestingly, those who backed Householder for the House Speaker’s position benefited monetarily though campaign contributions from Householder and others. Again, Representative Jena Powell was on the receiving end of that funding according to campaign finance records. Organizations like “Friends of Larry Householder,” “First Energy PAC” and “Murray Energy Corp.,” campaign organizations that are directly tied to Householder or the bailout scheme. All of this can be verified and accessed through public records and current publications.

Finally, when one party continually rules for decades, representatives become tone-deaf to the needs of the people that elect them. Instead, they create opportunities for others to contribute to their campaign funds. Money becomes influence; they sell out to the consultants and lobbyists and others. They become the focus of their own self interests rather than working on behalf of their voters interests. Let’s end this kind of representation and get back to honest government in November.

— Ted Jones