Larry Householder

By indicting former Ohio House speaker Larry Householder on 10 counts of corruption, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has closed the circle around the four men most responsible for the HB 6 scandal.

In February, Yost indicted the two FirstEnergy officials — Chuck Jones and Michael Dowling — and former Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chairman Sam Randazzo on multiple charges related to HB 6.

Until then, Jones and Dowling had evaded prosecution for their roles in the $61 million bribery scheme that helped elect Householder speaker and push through the bailouts of FirstEnergy’s nuclear plants and the coal-fired plants owned by Ohio Valley Electric Corp.

One year after the first federal indictments in the HB 6 scandal in July 2020, FirstEnergy signed a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department that acknowledged paying a $4.3 million bribe to Randazzo, who helped write the HB 6 law even though he was ostensibly a neutral regulator of Ohio’s utility industry.

Ten new counts for Householder

Householder was convicted of federal racketeering charges on March 9, 2023, and sentenced to 20 years in federal prison. He is appealing that sentence. A conviction on state charges would ensure that even if Householder wins his appeal, he will face state sanctions for his activity.

The new counts announced Monday include:

  • Five counts of tampering with records
  • Two counts of aggravated theft
  • One count of theft in office
  • One count of telecommunications fraud
  • One count of money laundering

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost

In a release, Yost’s office said its “indictment alleges that Householder misused campaign funds to pay for his personal criminal defense in his federal case. In addition, he allegedly failed to accurately complete Joint Legislative Ethics Committee filings. Specifically, records show that he did not disclose fiduciary relationships, creditors and gifts – including those related to fraudulent activity surrounding House Bill 6, legislation that benefitted FirstEnergy.”

Householder allies also didn’t file reports

As Checks & Balances Project reported in December, the Boich Companies also didn’t file reports with the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee despite their deep involvement in the efforts to pass HB 6.

Wayne and Cynthia Boich, who control the Boich Companies, were some of the first donors to Generation Now, the fund that funneled $61 million from FirstEnergy and its associates to Householder to pass HB 6.

C&BP also revealed that Resource Fuels, a coal supplier to OVEC owned by Boich, overcharged the company and Ohio ratepayers for coal for at least three years.  

Matt Evans, the CEO of the Boich Companies, worked closely with executives from FirstEnergy and Householder to pass HB6 in 2019, according to the federal deferred prosecution agreement filed by FirstEnergy in 2021. But Boich’s lobbying reports for 2019 report no activity with Ohio’s legislative or executive branches, even though Michael Koren, who was listed as Boich’s lobbyist, was also FirstEnergy’s lobbyist in 2019; that company’s lobbying reports include their work to pass HB 6.

Chuck Jones, then FirstEnergy’s CEO, texted a photoshopped picture of Mount Rushmore that included Evans’ face superimposed on it with the caption that said, “HB 6 Fuck Anybody Who Aint Us.” That photo surfaced as part of the federal bribery case that led to the convictions and imprisonment of Householder and former Ohio Republican Party chairman Matt Borges last year.

Ray Locker is the executive director for Checks & Balances Project, an investigative watchdog blog holding government officials, lobbyists, and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP is provided by Renew American Prosperity and individual donors.

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