COLUMBUS, Ohio — EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect the campaign donations came from three people indicted in a bribery case tied to House Bill 6. A previous version incorrectly stated the money came from FirstEnergy.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine released on Friday the total dollar amount of campaign donations he received from three individuals who were indicted in an alleged bribery scheme involving House Bill 6.
According to his staff, the governor received a total of $19,755 from the three people indicted, and as promised, his staff says he donated the funds to the Ohio Association of Food Banks. The association says it received DeWine’s donation in August and the money was divided equally among 13 foodbanks across the state.
House Bill 6, passed by the Ohio General Assembly last year, provided a billion-dollar bailout to FirstEnergy and its affiliates, and reportedly saved two nuclear power plants from closing in northern Ohio.
The FBI alleges the path paved for the legislation was lined with $60 million in bribery payments that federal authorities say personally benefitted former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and four other men.
Householder and the four others – lobbyists Juan Cespedes and Neil Clark; former Ohio GOP chair Matt Borges and Householder adviser Jeff Longstreth – have all pleaded not guilty. No trial date has been set.
The governor's office says Borges contributed $13,255 to DeWine's campaign; Cespedes gave $6,000 and $500 was contributed by Longstreth. Householder and Clark did not donate to the DeWine campaign.
Last week, members of the House Select Committee on Energy Policy and Oversight heard from the sponsors of two bills – HB 746 and HB 738 – both nearly identical bills that seek a full repeal of HB 6.
Rep. Laura Lanese (R - Grove City) tried to dissuade other lawmakers who have spoken out against a full repeal and have argued that HB 6 still has some merits – despite its current backdrop.
“The suggestion is that we shouldn’t throw out the baby – i.e. the policy – with the bathwater – i.e. the corruption. I would counter that what we have now is not bathwater, but it’s mud,” she said.
Rep. Michael Skindell (D – Lakewood) also provided sponsor testimony, adding that there is a need to repeal HB 6 quickly, saying: “it was adopted under a cloud of corruption, bribery and racketeering.”
Householder has been removed as Ohio House Speaker, but remains a member of the General Assembly.
The FBI alleges that it gathered recorded conversations, bank records and text messages during the course of its investigation.