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Government & Politics

Will FirstEnergy's Role in Householder Alleged Enterprise Lead to Charges?

First Energy downtown Akron
The U.S. Attorney says the role FirstEnergy played in the Householder enterprise continues to be investigated.

Federal authorities allege the speaker of the Ohio House ran a massive scheme to pass an energy bill that bailed out Akron-based First Energy’s two nuclear plants.

The U.S. attorney for the southern district of Ohio, David DeVillers, says the $61-million racketeering enterprise dates back to March 2017.

He says Larry Householder created a 501(c)(4) called Generation Now to launder money contributed by an entity identified as Company A, widely known to be First Energy.

A 501(c)(4) is an IRS designated organization meant to support social programs, which DeVillers said was a cover for the operation.

So far, Householder and four others have been arrested, including former Republican Party chairman Matt Borges.

When asked whether anyone from First Energy might be charged, DeVillers said the investigation is not over.

“Individuals that work for Company A, and Company A in and of itself, we’re going to continue to investigate this, and we’re going to investigate it wherever it leads, whoever it is and whoever they work for.”

DeVillers says Householder took half a million dollars for his own personal benefit, using $300,000 to pay off a lawsuit and $100,000 for a home in Florida.

He says much of the money paid for ads to defeat opponents of 21 Republican candidates Householder recruited to support his bid to be speaker and secure passage of the $1 billion nuclear bailout bill.

The enterprise also engaged in tactics to ensure petition drives aimed at overturning the energy measure were defeated.

Senior Account Executive for Energy Harbor Jason Copsey says they are reviewing the complaint and will cooperate with the government’s investigation.