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Judge Declines Ohio Attorney General's Request For Injunction In HB6 Civil Case

Attorney General Dave Yost speaks at a press conference in 2018.
Karen Kasler
Statehouse News Bureau

A Franklin County judge declined Attorney General Dave Yost's request to stop FirstEnergy, former House Speaker Larry Householder, and others defendants accused in a bribery scheme from donating money to political campaigns.  

The preliminary injunction asked that FirstEnergy, Energy Harbor, Householder and others be banned from donating money to campaigns or lobbying for HB6, the nuclear bailout law at the heart of the federal racketeering case.

Franklin County Judge Christopher Brown ruled against the injunction. Yost says there's still a possibility of filing another injunction to stop new charges set to appear on electric bills in January if HB6 is not repealed. 

"We still have that billion-dollar money hose out there, and we didn't file a preliminary injunction on that because the money isn't being collected yet and isn't being dispersed," Yost says.

Federal investigators say a $60 million bribery scheme funneled money from a utility company, believed to be FirstEnergy, through dark money groups to benefit Householder personally and politically. Investigators say the scheme's end goal was to pass HB6, which provides over $1 billion in subsidies to two nuclear plants owned by FirstEnergy's former subsidiary, now known as Energy Harbor.

FirstEnergy has said Yost's civil case is without "legal merit." The company is not yet facing charges in the federal case.

The Ohio legislature has held multiple hearings on proposals to repeal HB6, but lawmakers missed a critical deadline if they want to prevent ratepayers from seeing additional charges on their energy bills.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.