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Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost preparing possible lawsuit over alleged House Bill 6 corruption

The Plain Dealer  Cleveland logo The Plain Dealer Cleveland 8/7/2020 By Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland.com
Dave Yost in a suit standing in front of a curtain: Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, seen here in a file photo, has informed other state officials to preserve records relating to the passage of House Bill 6, in preparation for a possible lawsuit against those who have been charged criminally for its passage. © Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland.com/cleveland.com/TNS Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, seen here in a file photo, has informed other state officials to preserve records relating to the passage of House Bill 6, in preparation for a possible lawsuit against those who have been charged criminally for its passage.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has instructed state officials and others to preserve records related to the passage of House Bill 6, the nuclear bailout law sought by FirstEnergy, in preparation for a possible lawsuit against the parties the FBI has accused of corruptly securing its passage.

Yost in a July 24 letter instructed Ohio House of Representatives staff to preserve records related to the passage of House Bill 6, FirstEnergy and related companies, former Ohio House speaker Larry Householder and a myriad of political organizations Householder and allies controlled. Multiple state offices and other entities named in the memo have received similar letters, according to a source.

“Ohio law is not for sale,” reads the letter, obtained through a public records request. “This Office is considering legal action pursuant to RC 2923.34,” referring to an Ohio civil statute that allows someone to sue for damages resulting from racketeering, “against all of the co-conspirators who treated it as if it was.”

On Friday, Paul Disantis, a top attorney for the Ohio House GOP, instructed House members and staff to preserve all records related to the passage of House Bill 6. In a memo, obtained by clevleand.com / The Plain Dealer, he referenced Yost’s July 24 letter, as well as a July 27 subpoena from the FBI seeking similar records.

Yost’s office didn’t immediately provide a comment for this story.

Householder, a top political aide and three lobbyists involved in the passage of House Bill 6 were arrested last month and since have been charged with racketeering. Federal investigators accuse them of accepting $60 million in bribes from FirstEnergy entities, in the form of funding for political organizations that helped Householder become House speaker, in exchange for securing the passage of House Bill 6, which provided more than $1 billion for two nuclear power plants owned by a former FirstEnergy subsidy.

No company officials from FirstEnergy have been charged. Householder has not yet been formally arraigned on charges, but his top political aide, Jeff Longstreth, and lobbyists Matt Borges, Neil Clark and Juan Cespedes all pleaded not guilty on Thursday. A California shareholder on Friday sued FirstEnergy in federal court, alleging the company’s board not establish the internal controls that would have flagged the $60 million in payments.

Householder, a Republican, was one of Ohio’s most powerful politicians when he was arrested. He’s since been removed from his leadership position, but remains in the state legislature.

Here is a copy of Yost’s letter:

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