Akron-based FirstEnergy will pay a $230 million fine for bribing key Ohio officials in a calculated quest to secure a $1 billion ratepayer-funded bailout for two nuclear plants and fend off future rate hikes.
FirstEnergy’s fine – while far from the $1.1 billion the company earned last year – is still the “largest criminal penalty ever collected, as far as anyone can recall, in the history of this office,” acting U.S. Attorney Vipal Patel said Thursday. The penalty surpassed $200 million imposed on Illinois’ ComEd in 2020.
“The principle here is trying to come up with a number that stings but doesn’t annihilate,” Patel said. In fact, FirstEnergy’s stock soared after the three-year deferred prosecution agreement was announced.
The 49-page agreement details how FirstEnergy bought key Ohio public officials – notably former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and former Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chairman Sam Randazzo – with millions of dollars funnelled through dark money groups to turn a profit using Ohio ratepayers’ pocketbooks.
The original full article can be found at cincinnati.com