Energy Bill

How Dark Money Is Reshaping Politics

Jul 30, 2020
House Speaker Larry Householder draws up the details of his plan to overhaul energy policy in Ohio.
Andy Chow / Ohio Public Radio

Hundreds of millions of dollars in so-called “dark money” have flowed into 2020 election coffers at all levels of government -- with both parties taking advantage of legal means to conceal who’s donating to them.

In Ohio, federal investigators last week alleged undisclosed contributions funneled through a 501(c) 4 nonprofit was the lynchpin in a $61 million dollar bribery case brought against Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and four others.

The effort to shed more light on campaign contributions is gaining momentum with the support of Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio). He says these so-called dark money groups that donate millions of dollars into political expenditures need more transparency.

House Speaker Larry Householder
Andy Chow / Ohio Public Radio

Ohio lawmakers are introducing bills that require more transparency when it comes to dark money groups in political campaigns. The bills are in reaction to an alleged racketeering scheme involving a dark money organization and Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford).

The company that runs Ohio's two nuclear power plants is increasing its stock buyback from $500 million to $800 million, less than a year after lawmakers approved a bailout for those power plants. This has critics questioning the company's financial situation.

The entrance to Energy Harbor's Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, Ohio.
Ron Schwane / Associated Press

The group that was fighting to overturn Ohio's nuclear power plant bailout has dropped its case in court which means the plan for additional fees on electric bills to subsidize nuclear and coal will carry forward.

The battle over the energy law that starts providing subsidies to Ohio’s two nuclear power plants in 2021 may not be over.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine speaks during a public inauguration ceremony at the Ohio Statehouse, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, in Columbus.
Ty Greenlees / AP/Dayton Daily News, Pool

In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss how Ohio's representatives in Congress voted on articles of impeachment against President Trump. Plus, an interview with Gov. Mike Dewine about his first year in office.

power lines

House Republicans are pushing for a ban on foreign entities from investing in Ohio's critical infrastructure, such as pipelines and power plants. However an economics professor says this can stifle future development.

Ohio Supreme Court chambers.
Dan Konik / Ohio Public Radio

The window has closed for parties to file in the Ohio Supreme Court case over whether the new energy law, HB6, can be subject to a citizen referendum.

Rep. Jamie Callender (R-Concord) accepts more than 800,000 signatures for an informal petition calling for Ohio to ban foreign investments in energy generation.
Andy Chow / Ohio Public Radio

Republican House members are sponsoring a resolution that would prohibit foreign businesses and individuals from having a majority ownership in things like power plants, power lines, pipelines and water.

Pention workers for the nuclear power plant bailout are collecting signatures throughout Ohio.
Karen Kasler / Statehouse News Bureau

Last week brought a close to one chapter for Ohio's nuclear power plant bailout, House Bill 6, when the group collecting signatures to fight against the law fell short of their goal.

A federal judge on Wednesday denied the group more time to collect enough signatures to trigger a ballot referendum, but activists are still hoping the Ohio Supreme Court will grant their request.

Perry Nuclear Power Plant in Perry, Ohio
Dan Konik / Ohio Public Radio

In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown talk about the questionable, yet successful, efforts of nuclear energy interests to keep a referendum off the ballot. Catherine Turcer, the Executive Director for Common Cause Ohio, joins the show.

Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts revealed in a U.S. District Court hearing that they fell far short of the signatures needed to qualify for a potential referendum on the nuclear bailout bill, created through HB6.

Pention workers for the nuclear power plant bailout are collecting signatures throughout Ohio.
Karen Kasler / Statehouse News Bureau

The group that wants to overturn Ohio’s nuclear power plant bailout law is required to submit nearly 266,000 valid signatures by next Monday to halt that law and put it before voters next year. However supporters of the bailout are waging an unrelenting fight to stop that.

Opponents of the nuclear power plant bailout, created through HB6, have filed a lawsuit in federal court to get an extension to their referendum signature gathering due date. Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts is arguing their rivals are unfairly using campaign records against them.