What’s next in Ohio corruption probe after guilty verdicts?

Mar 14, 2023, 10:58 AM
FILE - The then-FirstEnergy Corp.'s Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, Ohio, is pictu...
FILE - The then-FirstEnergy Corp.'s Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, Ohio, is pictured on April 4, 2017. The largest corruption case in Ohio history culminated on Thursday, March 9, 2023, in guilty verdicts for both former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and lobbyist Matt Borges, but the state's attorney general called it “only the beginning of accountability" regarding the now-tainted $1 billion bailout of two aging nuclear power plants. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane, File)
(AP Photo/Ron Schwane, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The now-tainted $1 billion bailout of two aging nuclear power plants.

Householder, 63, and Borges, 50, could spend up to 20 years in prison for their racketeering conspiracy convictions. The jury agreed with prosecutors that Householder orchestrated a $60 million bribery scheme, secretly funded by Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp., to secure his power, elect his allies and pass the bailout bill — and that Borges took part in a dirty-tricks campaign to protect the bailout law from referendum.

The investigation remains open, and additional lawsuits and regulatory actions remain unresolved. Here’s a look at where things stand:


It’s likely. Householder and Borges are out on bond. They have until next Thursday to file any motions, including for a new trial. They’ll be sentenced once those motions are resolved and the probation office’s pre-sentence investigation is complete, which could take weeks. They will then have 14 days to appeal their sentence to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

These were the last of the parties testified in the seven-week trial. The government will likely recommend reduced sentences for them.

Generation Now, a “dark money” group that was used to funnel FirstEnergy’s millions to Longstreth, Householder and others, also died by suicide in March 2021.


As the government’s investigation continues, a number of other names have surfaced.

In resigned a day after the FBI searched his home. Randazzo has denied wrongdoing and hasn’t been charged.

There also have been no charges against the texts, emails and travel itineraries factored heavily into the case against Householder.

Prosecutors say the executives met with Householder to Householder refuted on the stand. Jones says neither he nor any other FirstEnergy employee engaged in “unlawful activities in their dealings with government officials,” speaking through a New York-based public relations firm.

Individuals with ties to Republican Gov. Mike DeWine have also come up through investigations or lawsuits.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted was considered an ally by the FirstEnergy executives in their fight for the bailout bill.

Dan McCarthy was a former FirstEnergy lobbyist and Husted confidante who formed another dark money group involved, then worked as a lobbyist on the governor’s behalf.

Laurel Dawson was the governor’s chief of staff, and she helped vet Randazzo for the utility regulator chairmanship and approved sending a state plane to pick up lawmakers for the bailout vote. The flight ultimately never happened.

The governor’s office says all its employees’ actions were above board — and notes that no staff have been questioned.


Republican Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost asked a Franklin County judge last week to lift the stay on discovery in the state’s separate civil racketeering case. That would let him continue collecting documents and deposing witnesses, which he said could “reveal an expanded number of defendants.”

One group of lawsuits by FirstEnergy shareholders was settled last year. A deal required the company to reform its corporate governance, transparency and ethics. However, a shareholder wants the settlement reconsidered, and that’s still pending. Additional corporate governance requirements were included in FirstEnergy’s prosecution deferral agreement. To avoid prosecution, the company must satisfy those requirements by July 2024.

FirstEnergy still faces shareholder lawsuits alleging the company committed securities violations. Defendants include both Jones and his successor, former CEO and President Steven Strah, who abruptly retired in September. A class certification hearing is scheduled before a federal judge in that case on Friday.


FirstEnergy has faced scrutiny from state and federal utility regulators as well as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Four investigations by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio were paused last week for an additional six months, as the federal probe continues. Those efforts target FirstEnergy’s political and charitable contributions, its compliance with corporate separation laws, and whether details brought to light by the Householder case were properly disclosed as the company sought past rate and capital recovery adjustments.

The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, which represents residential utility customers, was subpoenaing documents and deposing witnesses when the reviews were halted.

Meanwhile, FirstEnergy “fully resolved” matters with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in a consent agreement signed in January. The regulatory commission found FirstEnergy failed to disclose nearly $94 million in lobbying for the bailout bill. It was fined $3.9 million. The SEC’s review continues.


Legislation containing the bailout gave FirstEnergy a guaranteed-profit subsidy, but that was nixed by a also were repealed. Some lawmakers are fighting to repeal other energy subsidies included in the sweeping measure, which ratepayers are still paying for.

Different groups of House Republicans and Democrats introduced anticorruption legislation this session. They say the proposed laws could address gaps in campaign finance law highlighted by the case — gaps that allow uncontrolled raising and spending of money through dark money groups.

Others are calling for more transparency under Ohio’s lobbying laws, which required few to no details be made public about the plane trips, wining and dining, sports tickets and other perks Householder testified to receiving.

Those bills’ prospects are unclear.

National News

Utah Jazz guard Johnny Juzang (33) shoots against the San Antonio Spurs during the second half of a...
Associated Press

AP source: NBA, players reach deal for a new labor agreement

The NBA will have labor peace for years to come. The league and its players came to an agreement early Saturday on a new seven-year collective bargaining agreement, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press. The deal will begin this summer and will last at least through the 2028-29 season. Either […]
1 day ago
FILE - House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Mar...
Associated Press

Intensity and insults rise as lawmakers debate debt ceiling

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fights over increasing the nation’s borrowing authority have been contentious in Congress, yet follow a familiar pattern: Time and again, lawmakers found a way to step back from the brink before markets began to panic and the nation risked a dangerous default on its debt. But this year’s fight has a different […]
1 day ago
FILE - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop in Council Bluf...
Associated Press

Trump indictment ends decades of perceived invincibility

NEW YORK (AP) — When despite 40 years of legal scrutiny. Trump, who is the early frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, is expected to turn himself in Tuesday. He faces charges including at least one felony offense related to hush money payments to women during his 2016 campaign. Like any other person facing trial, […]
1 day ago
Iowa's Caitlin Clark tries to get past South Carolina's Raven Johnson during the first half of an N...
Associated Press

Clark, Iowa end perfect South Carolina season in Final Four

DALLAS (AP) — Caitlin Clark tossed the ball high in the air as the clock ticked down, gave a huge shout-out to her adoring fans and then took off on a gleeful gallop around the court. In the biggest matchup of her life, the dazzling point guard from Iowa had done it all — poured […]
1 day ago
LSU's Angel Reese and LaDazhia Williams react during the second half of an NCAA Women's Final Four ...
Associated Press

Mulkey-led LSU women reach 1st title game, top Virginia Tech

DALLAS (AP) — Alexis Morris scored 27 points and had two of her misses in the fourth quarter turned into putback baskets by Angel Reese in a big run as LSU rallied to beat top-seeded Virginia Tech 79-72 in the national semifinal game Friday night. Reese finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds for LSU […]
1 day ago
Rep. Zakiya Summers, D-Jackson speaks against passage of the controversial Jackson Capitol Complex ...
Associated Press

Mississippi closer to more state police in mostly Black city

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Tensions erupted Friday as the majority-white and Republican-controlled Mississippi House passed the final version of a bill to expand the territory of a state-run police department inside the capital city of Jackson, which is majority-Black and governed by Democrats. Supporters say the proposal is intended to increase safety in the city […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.
Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
What’s next in Ohio corruption probe after guilty verdicts?