Akron-based FirstEnergy will be reporting its political spending on its website in the future, after New York-based shareholders sought to ensure the company disclosed both its political and lobbying spending in the wake of a bribery investigation.
The three-year deal with the New York State Common Retirement Fund requires FirstEnergy to detail spending on candidates, political parties, and ballot measures. It does not cover lobbying.
Five of the retirement fund’s shareholders had asked to see both political and lobbying monies spent.
The agreement comes amid the ongoing federal investigation into an alleged $60 million bribery scheme to secure passage of House Bill 6, the controversial energy bill that guaranteed FirstEnergy annual revenue and subsidized two nuclear plants it once owned.
The investigation began last July with the arrest of former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, a Republican from Perry County. Earlier this month, the dark money group Generation Now pleaded guilty to racketeering in the case, admitting that it was created to funnel money from an unnamed utility – widely acknowledged to be FirstEnergy – to Householder. Two of Householder's alleged associates have also pleaded guilty.
In a recent SEC filing, FirstEnergy said an internal investigation identified improper transactions dating back as far as 10 years ago, including "amounts collected from customers that were immaterial to FirstEnergy."
Last week, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said the city intends to sue FirstEnergy for trying to undermine Cleveland Public Power.