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Dark Money

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Hidden dark money for political campaigns helped make the Ohio nuclear bailout bribery scandal possible.

The use of 501c4s makes it harder for investigators and the public to know who is funding political activity by allowing donors to remain secret, no matter how much they give. 501c4s are classified as social welfare organizations in the tax code.

They’re supposed to be used for the public good, with no more than half of the funds going toward political activity.

But with a lack of transparency and no fail safes to ensure they aren’t being abused, many argue C4s counter the greater good by making it harder to know who is influencing elections.

Prosecutors tracked down transfers made by First Energy to these dark money groups as the funds migrated to other 501c4s, bank accounts and to pay invoices supporting the HB 6 conspiracy.

But that $60 million First Energy doled out to elect Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and his allies, to pass HB 6 and stop it from being rolled back, wasn’t the only cash that traded hands. And the state house wasn’t the only state agency for sale.

(Language disclaimer): warning, this episode contains strong language that could be offensive to young or sensitive listeners.

Renee Fox: From WOSU Public Media, this is The Power Grab, how dark money and dirty politics led to the biggest bribery scandal in Ohio history.

I’m your host Renee Fox.

In our last episode, we explored the role of lobbyist Neil Clark in the House Bill 6 scheme. He brought decades of political know-how and acted as the proxy for Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder.

His secretly recorded conversations secured indictments against him, Householder and three others. Clark had suspicions he was being set up, but that didn't stop him from feeding undercover FBI agents insider details about the conspiracy.

Investigators started piecing together how money changed hands to fund Householder’s rise to power and First Energy’s bailout.

It took investigators a while to trace that cash. First Energy pushed millions of dollars through different channels to fund their cause.

If more than $60 million in spending seems like outsized political influence, or like it crossed the threshold into some illegal amount – it didn’t. First Energy could have spent more to get what they wanted.

The thing that turned it from political influence to a racketeering conspiracy, what made it a bribe – was the collusion – the quid pro quo – the promise of one thing for another.

Otherwise, corporate cash from big donors like First Energy is a well-known tool for nearly every politician out there. The money can flow without donors being reported to the public – it’s just a matter of filtering it through the right type of tax-free nonprofit… and feigning ignorance that the politician has control over it.

Episode Four: Dark Money

The 2010 landmark Supreme Court decision, Citizens United, is often cited for the outsized influence of corporate political spending.

Citizens United equated campaign donations to free speech, and gave that right to corporations, not just people.

News Headlines Montage: The Supreme Court delivered a landmark decision on campaign finance today.

Opening floodgates for companies and unions to spend all the money they want, attacking political candidates.

By a 5 to 4 vote the sharply divided justices declared that the law violates the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech for all, even corporations.

Renee Fox: And that “speech,” in the form of political donations, can’t be limited. As long as the money’s not going directly to someone’s campaign.

Citizens United does require donors to be identified and allows political action committees to be regulated through the Federal Elections Commission. But, the political action committees are not allowed to work directly with a candidate’s campaign.

These dark money groups have gotten a lot of press in recent years… But there is another way corporations can exercise their influence. And this way lets them do it covertly. They call them social welfare organizations in the tax code, 501c4s, often called c4 for short.

Neil Clark: 501(c)4. 501(c)4 is a, the (c)4 is a political entity that can take nondisclosed corporate contributions and they can spend it on both campaigns and issues.

Renee Fox: That’s Neil Clark explaining to undercover FBI agents how 501c4s work. With secret donations, the money comes in with no strings attached, avoiding election campaign finance rules as they masquerade as organizations promoting social welfare.

Neil Clark: It's secret. A c4 is secret? Secret? Nobody knows. The money goes to Speaker's account. It is controlled by his people, I'm one of his people. Yeah, and nobody. It's not reported -- a secret, a c4 is nonreported.

Renee Fox: It’s perfectly legal for donors to dump millions into a C4, but their primary purpose is not supposed to be political. They’re supposed to advocate for the public or a community, without generating private benefits or profits.

A traditional use includes organizing a volunteer fire department or a group to protect the rights of tenants in a community. But, political observers say they’re no longer functioning the way they should.

Former U.S. Attorney David DeVillers.

David DeVillers: It's been perverted by the people and the code and IRS has kind of abdicated its, its position as far as its role and in guarding against abuses.

Renee Fox: DeVillers said the organizations are doing whatever they want, and operating in political ways when they aren’t supposed to. And, in most cases, there aren’t any consequences.

David DeVillers: The other part of t's like a it's a it's a high yield, low risk thing to do too. Right. So let's say I have a C4 let's say I'm illegally using the C4 I'm it's more than 49% going to supporting or attacking a candidate and I do it 100% going to it. And the IRS does look at it and says, wait a second, you're violating the C4 - it's not a crime.

The worst thing that could happen to you is that you they take away your C4 the tax exempt status. Oh, they can maybe shut down. Guess what? Pay the 50 bucks and have some other nominee open up a new one.

Renee Fox: In addition to no limits in spending, the secret part means the owners of the C4 never have to reveal their donors. So the public never gets to know when businesses or individuals are funding a certain issue or candidate.

And it wasn't always like that. Under the Trump administration, in 2018, the IRS eliminated a reporting requirement for donations over $5,000 to C4s. And before Citizens United C4s that were involved in political activity couldn't take cash from corporations.

But some of the rules guiding the C4s were left in place. A C4 isn't supposed to spend more than half of its funds on political activities or candidates. They're required to promise to use half of the funds on promoting social welfare issues. Clark was pretty familiar with how they worked.

Neil Clark: You have to have somebody that can put the money into the (c)4 then the, what do you, the question is what do you do with the C4. Do you help people get elected or do you do it for your own issues?

Under federal law, it has to be, it has to be at least 50‐50. Fifty for campaigns, 50 for issues. So like all this money that we had just spent for FirstEnergy’s behalf now goes on the equation of education. So all now they can give $17,000,000 in political contributions and now it’s, under federal law standards, they’re equal.

Undercover FBI Agent: Ah.

Renee Fox: What Clark said there – at that point in time, if FirstEnergy had poured $17 million into C4s to educate the public with ads promoting the bailout, then they could spend an equal amount on candidates. But, if they didn’t want to, Clark said they’d just create a shell, for-profit corporation to receive the money and spend it to get around those requirements, too.

State senators and reps in both parties have 501c4s for their caucuses.

Being willing to spend a lot endears corporations to ambitious politicians and kills any political will to change the rules.

Neil Clark: But, if it is, if it’s somebody that’s got long term, you know, a big utility company, somebody that’s got a lot of money that’s going to be around forever‐

Undercover FBI Agent: Like that First, whatever the fuck FirstEnergy.

Neil Clark: Yeah, FirstEnergy. We call FirstEnergy the bank. Because they can do, they can do, they can fund these things for 20 years if they wanted to.

Undercover FBI Agent: Yeah.

Undercover FBI Agent: Nobody wants to blow them off.

Neil Clark: Nobody is going to blow them off because they, they, they got too much money and too much power.

Undercover FBI Agent: Congress ain’t going to change that.

Neil Clark: Mm‐hmm.

Undercover FBI Agent: Why would they?

Undercover FBI Agent: They’re fucking eating.

Neil Clark: Yeah, they need it.

Undercover FBI Agent: They’re fucking eating.

Undercover FBI Agent: They’re eating.

Renee Fox: But – here's where Team Householder went wrong – any candidate that is being supported by a C4 can’t coordinate with it. That is a similarity the C4 has with the political action committees that were sorted out in the Citizens United case. But, it’s an unspoken, well-kept secret – politicians often have their own C4s and they’re monitoring whose donating and controlling how that cash is spent.

David DeVillers: No one's supposed to control it, you know, like a politician. And they all control it. I mean, every politician. Well, a lot of politicians have C4s they're just known. They control and it's known like if you want to influence that person, you throw money into those C4s and they'll they'll know who donated it to it. You know they ought to list them but they'll know and you'll somehow get in their good graces and no, no will know that you did it.

Catherine Turcer is the executive director of democracy watchdog Common Cause Ohio. She said this knowledge is common in the Statehouse.

Catherine Turcer: All of the folks that are kind of in those inner circles knows what's going on with fundraising. And knows what's happening. Like, they know. Oh, this is. This is their C4. This is their PAC where we as the public and the constituents. Understand there's something going on, but we can't actually follow the money. And it fosters corruption.”

Renee Fox: Householder got caught coordinating his C4 with Clark and other lobbyists, but that’s only after the feds spent years figuring it out with subpoenas, tax records, undercover agents and phone taps.

Turcer said it shouldn’t take a federal case to know who is spending money to influence our elections.

Catherine Turcer: Let's face it, you shouldn't actually have to have an FBI investigation to root out misdeeds, that there should be the ability for, you know, community groups to do some research and follow the money. And there should be the ability for reporters to be able to figure out there's a problem before they spin completely out of control.

Renee Fox: Here, undercover FBI agents ask Clark to explain how they can use so much money without oversight.

Undercover FBI Agent: But my point is, how do you guys audit your spending? Do you have to report it? I mean?

Neil Clark: That's why I'm the overseer. I'm the guy that oversees how the expenditures go.

Undercover FBI Agent: So the fox takes care of the hen house?

Neil Clark: Well.

Undercover FBI Agent: Well, not to do any wrong, but you've.

Neil Clark: I'm the speaker's appointed guy to do that.

Renee Fox: When the fox is in charge of the henhouse, it’s easy to get away with murder. The main C4 this scheme used was called Generation Now, but it wasn’t the only one.

David DeVillers: It was just it was just insane. Like they would put these like, show me what you're talking about. Like, so how does it go to FirstEnergy to Householder's Enterprise? And, you know, it went through like one C4 to another C4 to another C4, then to Generation Now and then like to buy ads, then go right from Generation Now to buying ads and went to another C4 and it took forever to get those because once you once you have a dark money group a C4, you don't have the donors. So you can't go to somewhere and say, give me a list, see your list of donors or even subpoena it.

Renee Fox: There are other ways to obscure the trail and avoid the already minimal reporting requirements. The people in charge of the C4s can run them for a year and shut them down. Then use the remaining funds to donate to other nonprofits or for-profits.

That adds layers of confusion. And, it hides who’s behind the efforts. The organizations use basic names that imply they’re driven by patriotism or strong work ethic.

Catherine Turcer: So they don't have the public pressure to be truthful. They don't have a requirement in the law to be truthful, and they also don't have pressure to live up to their better angels

And so there's some just egregious ads that were run in opposition to the referendum.

Campaign Ad: They shuttered our factories. Now they're coming for our energy jobs. The Chinese government is quietly invading our America. Don't sign the petition allowing China to control Ohio's power in U.S. government.

Renee Fox: DeVillers said he's never heard a reasonable justification for 501c4s.

David DeVillers: The 501c4s are just a weird animal. And I still don't. Someone still needs to explain to me that that utility and then I get the idea of even anonymous donations for We the people. Right. But, you know, why are you including unions and corporations?

You know any of that? Why are you what now? No. Why are you including it? Why are you making it tax exempt? Why are we why are we encouraging it? Because that's exactly what we're doing. We created it.

It's going to stay there until it's the political will to do something about it. And, you know, all the Republicans and Democrats, you know, from the you know, the the the entire nation, they all benefit from B, C four, So they're not going to do anything about it.

Renee Fox: Turcer said that if there was real oversight over the C4s, the HB 6 scheme wouldn’t have grown so large.

Catherine Turcer: This was preventable, completely. So do I think that folks are going to break the rules that are in place sometimes? Yes, they're going to do that. But when you basically create a climate of secrecy and there's nothing to hold back, bad behavior, well, then even the honest folks are not going to be worried about what they do. And they're going to make choices that are really not in the best interests of their constituents.

Renee Fox: DeVillers credits whistleblowers for bringing the case to light. But you can’t always rely on someone to rat the team out.

So, what exactly made Householder’s dance with dark money into a crime, when so many politicians use C4s? It’s The fact that there was barter, an exchange.

David DeVillers: It's really kind of nebulous, whether it's a quid pro quo or not. There's implicit versus explicit in depending on the on the bribe, right?

So if it's if it's going right to someone's own PAC, that's explicit quid pro quo, if it's going into their pockets or if it's going to Super PACs or C4s, then it could be implicit. Quid pro quo is a bit lesser of a of a burden.

But what does it become? I'm bribing somebody because buying influence isn't a crime, a federal crime.

So, you know, if you you want to give someone your, you know, a pub, a governor, you know, your condo and let him use it and because you're trying to buy influence and access. That's not illegal. It's when you say if you pass this legislation, you get to stay in my condo. You know, it's when it gets to the point of. You do this, I give you this, it becomes a crime.

Renee Fox: Turcer said those loose, nebulous regulations exist for a reason.

Catherine Turcer: When you create a climate of secrecy, you know, what's, you know, business as usual and what is actually breaking the law and quid pro quo for bribery. And so, you know, we have to look at this trial as part of a system and how we have created. And by this I should say, elected officials who are responsible for the rules here have created a system essentially that can make it look like legalized bribery.

Renee Fox: The IRS description claims the C4s exist for the promotion of social welfare. Their guidelines state social welfare does not include work on political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. But, it says they can engage in some political activities, as long as that’s not the primary activity. But that’s not what happened in Householder’s case.

And that’s pretty typical.

The IRS stopped making sure C4s were following the rules when the agency was accused of unfairly targeting conservative Tea Party 501c4s back during the Obama Administration.

TV Newscaster: First, the latest on the IRS targeting the president's political opponents for special scrutiny.

Rush Limbaugh: The Obama regime is using government to investigate people.

TV Newscaster: There were stern words at the White House today over IRS targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups.

Barak Obama: If you've got the IRS operating in anything less than a neutral and nonpartisan way, then that is outrageous. It is contrary to our traditions.

David DeVillers: They were. I'm not defending them. They totally did that. But doesn't mean that just to say, okay, we're not even going to, you know. It’s immature. We're not even going to regulate these anymore.

Renee Fox: Turcer said the IRS is so afraid of looking political, it isn’t doing its job.

Catherine Turcer: There really are very specific requirements that that we have. So why isn't the IRS actually reining in the kind of crazy, dark money spending? Well well, they have had their hands tied for a number of years and are not doing the kinds of investigations that they might.

Renee Fox: That means no one is checking to make sure these 501c4s are spending half their funds on social issues, like they’re supposed to.

The HB 6 gambit exposed itself more than quieter hustles because the big spending and public outreach drew a lot of attention.

Catherine Turcer: You know that old saying, you know, pigs get fed, hogs get slaughtered. The folks that have been operating as business and as usual in this dark money, you know, atmosphere, well, they weren't you know, they weren't drawing the attention of the FBI. It was the more kind of extravagant, outrageous, pugnacious behavior of Larry Householder and his team.

Renee Fox: Without transparency and true guards against coordination between candidates, 501c4s and PACs, Turcer said dark money is going to continue to flow.

Catherine Turcer: And we should care about that because we have campaign contribution limits to root out quid pro quo. In other words, the reason that there are limits on what we can give to candidates is we don't want our candidates and elected officials to be bought and paid for. We don't want money to unduly influence their decision-making. We want them to, in fact, be committed to the good of all Ohioans.

Renee Fox: She says dark money damages the ability of everyday people to reach their representatives in meaningful ways.

Catherine Turcer: Prompt disclosure can provide shareholders and citizens with the information they need to hold corporations and elected officials accountable.

Renee Fox: Though some would disagree. Householder himself speculated that few pay close attention to political scandals anymore. Here he explains it to Clark and undercover agents.

Larry Householder: We’re from the Watergate era where every single thing you said and every single thing you did all can sway the electorate.

This generation is all about this bull shit, nothing is true and they don't believe any of this shit or any of the shit in the goddamned newspaper either. You know what Trump said it could shoot someone and no one would give a shit, it’s true. You and I continue to live in this world, of ‘oh my god he just said fart, he just said fart, that’s five points in the polls.

Renee Fox: But, Turcer said there is a lot of political will — from people who aren’t in political office — to tighten up the laws. And, the Supreme Court has ruled it is constitutional to require thorough reports of campaign spending.

Catherine Turcer: That means that both Congress and the state legislature can pass and should have good disclosure so that we can follow the money, so that we can better understand who is funding these political advertisements so that they are not operating in secret.

Renee Fox: Turcer worries the state’s lawmakers aren’t learning more from the weaknesses and loopholes the Householder case brought to light.

Catherine Turcer: You know, there were recordings. There were emails. We have pictures. Our state legislature and the public now truly understand how secret money impacts legislating. And then and then end up affecting our daily lives. You know, we're we're just going to be ripped off. Get. If we don't actually do something about the dark money.

Renee Fox: She said changing the laws to increase transparency should be a natural reaction after what the HB 6 scandal revealed.

Catherine Turcer: It's such a practical solution. And there have been plenty of opportunities for the state legislature to step up. And they haven't done anything. And wringing your hands and acting as if Larry Householder was. Just a bad apple. And as long as they got rid of the bad apple it wouldn't corrupt the rest of the barrel – it is ridiculous.

Renee Fox: There was so much media surrounding HB six that people were connecting the dots that first energy was involved. But Tercer said the connections weren't something that could easily be proven by journalists, especially considering how long and how hard it was for federal investigators to piece the puzzle together.

Catherine Turcer: There's no reason that we shouldn't have good lobbyists' disclosure, so that when the public is being lobbied, when a corporation is spending money to influence us, that that that should actually be disclosed.

Renee Fox: Neil Clark himself thought the laws needed to be changed to add more transparency. He understood the system well, and made sure none of the donations his clients doled out made it on campaign finance reports. He only wanted them to donate to C4s.

Neil Clark: Giving giving money is like putting a fucking bullseye on your forehead and saying kill me, kill me.

Undercover FBI Agent: “I don't mind giving money...

Neil Clark: I said c4s, I said c4s.

Renee Fox: Clark called public donations that have to be reported “hard dollars.” He labeled anonymous dollars spent behind the scenes “soft dollars.” They all go to feed the same machine, but soft dollars are preferred by big spenders.

Neil Clark: Politicians have a never-ending desire for money… At least, at least a C4 is corporate dollars that you don’t have to actually take out of your own personal income. Whereas the hard dollars, political contributions, come out of your own pocket

Renee Fox: He described why politicians prefer them in his self-published tell-all. A voice actor reads it.

Voice Actor As Neil Clark: The reasons candidates like soft money is it helps them legally get around restrictions on corporate giving, as well as campaign finance limits. It’s the only way to raise corporate dollars. Some donors are willing to contribute more than the maximum to the candidate, and so will gladly give the additional money to a soft-dollar entity.

Renee Fox: Clark said they also shield the politicians from backlash from the more ruthless negative ads.

His book states “enterprising lawyers and political consultants” came up with the idea of funneling money through the C4s.

In Clark’s example, he asks you to imagine a campaign ad against Bernie Sanders and Medicare for All. How much less effective would the ad be if it had to reveal that it was paid for with funds given by a major insurance company? The public might infer they have selfish reasons for fighting comprehensive health care. Instead, that messaging can hide behind an entity with some innocuous name like Ohio for Health.

Even Clark thought changes to campaign finance laws over the years gave up transparency in exchange for limits or caps.

Neil Clark: Because back then when they go to dinner, before they did term limits and they did campaign finance reform, whether it was significant people that are still alive , that you know very well, that had dinner with the governor or the candidate they’d give them a $100,000.

So whether it was FirstEnergy, name the name, they’d give them a $100,000. And, and it was legit, right in hard dollars into their campaign. So they would do that three, four times a year and get this kind of money. Because it was all about, you took the money, it was just reported, they reported on your campaign report you got a $100,000 from X person.

State Rep. Jay Edwards: It was unlimited.

Neil Clark: It was unlimited.

Renee Fox: That’s him talking about it at a secretly recorded dinner with FBI agents, Householder and state Representative Jay Edwards, who chimes in at the end.

Clark thought capping donations in the 1990s just sent donors underground. It didn't stop them from making big donations, but it did stop them from reporting it and revealing the influence.

Neil Clark: My attitude was, isn’t that better for you to know exactly who’s giving you the money, if somebody wants to give you a $100,000 let the press go and ask questions, why’d they give you a $100,000? Right?

Jay Edwards: Now they’re just doing it behind, behind the scenes.

Neil Clark: No, now they’re going to C4s. And now you’re never going to find out. So you, you press did that because you decided to make, to create this world of none of your fucking business. You decided to make it none of your fucking business. And that’s something that is just, that’s what really turned this place into the wrong attitude.

Renee Fox: Here’s Clark and Householder agreeing with the idea, while Edwards is more doubtful.

Larry Householder: So I think, I think actually we could pass campaign finance reforms right now, today. It would take the limits off.”

Neil Clark: We should.

Undercover FBI Agent: Term limits?

Larry Householder: No, no. dollars.

Undercover FBI Agent: How would you do it?

Larry Householder: Simple do it as bill? I would argue you already got.

Yeah. Fix it. wouldn't you?

Larry Householder: Wouldn’t you, wouldn’t you rather have full disclosure?

Jay Edwards: Negative you wouldn’t make it out of the Senate.

Neil Clark: I’d rather, I’d rather have, here you’d know what I’d rather have in, in the public environment, I’d rather have when you’re out to dinner or you take a trip, let’s say that you went instead of pretending that you’re in Ohio. You’re in the Ohio Senate, instead of pretending that we going to go to Key West to have a fundraiser, let’s just call it what it is. Let’s call a spade a spade. You’re going down there for a free fucking trip and you’re getting a $5,000 benefit from it.

Renee Clark: Clark said dropping the caps on regular donations wouldn’t end the use of C4s, but he thought it could make them more transparent if they traded the limits for more stringent reporting requirements.

Neil Clark: But C4s, C4s aren’t going to go away if you do, if you do, if you do hard dollar changes. But what I think what hard dollar changes brings, whether for expenditures or for campaigns.

Jay Edwards: It brings light.

Neil Clark: It brings, it brings light back in and it says to people, quit busting my balls about a $75, don't bust my ball.

Renee Fox: The lack of transparency in state and federal campaign finance laws means voters don’t fully understand the forces influencing elected officials.

Without built-in checks and balances, politicians ask us to trust them at face value. So, even when lawmakers and aspiring lawmakers break the rules, they’re likely to get away with it. It takes a federal case to prove that type of collusion or quid pro quo – and probably someone willing to come forward and blow the whistle.

And when so many of our politicians rely on this lack of transparency, they lack incentive to turn the focus on themselves and push for reform.

Gov. Mike DeWine’s office didn’t accept an offer to participate in this podcast, but the FBI tapes caught Clark talking about DeWine’s relationship to big donors.

Neil Clark: He's clearly a governor that plays to special interests, particularly people that he's had long relationships with. He's clearly influenced, don't I don't want to say he's a pay to play guy, okay. But he clearly influenced by his friends who have money and his friends don't like to ask him for stuff because they don't want to make it look like. So they work around it in such a way that they get what they want without interfering with their relationship. But it's it's kind of fucked up.

Undercover FBI Agent: He's so willing it looks fucked.

Renee Fox: Clark said DeWine’s practice of playing it safe carried into the HB 6 scandal. He said DeWine’s accepted money from FirstEnergy but didn’t go to bat for them when pushing HB 6 became an uphill battle – annoying Team Householder.

Neil Clark: I'll tell you that on HB6, the governor took that about $3 million from First Energy.

Undercover FBI Agent: For what?

Neil Clark: Three million dollars from the utility company for his soft dollar C4.

Undercover FBI Agent: Did he?

Neil Clark: Yeah.

Renee Fox: Like those undercover FBI agents said while talking to Clark about it –

Undercover FBI Agent: Congress ain’t going to change that.

Neil Clark: Mm‐hmm.

Undercover FBI Agent: Why would they?

Undercover FBI Agent: They’re fucking eating.

Neil Clark: Yeah, they need it.

Undercover FBI Agent: They’re fucking eating.

Undercover FBI Agent: They’re eating.

Renee Fox: Next week on The Power Grab, Market Manipulation. We’ve heard how First Energy funneled money to the cause while Larry Householder and his team of lobbyists spent it. But, there’s another side to this case.

There are a network of monopolies in Ohio. And these state-sanctioned monopolies govern the way Ohioans get electricity and heat in their homes.

Companies like FirstEnergy don’t just need influence over state lawmakers. The unelected utility regulators in Ohio make decisions that cost or generate fortunes for utility companies. And the results of those decisions are clear to see on our monthly electric bills.

Noah Dormady: How do we efficiently balance the interests of the electric utilities that have a fiduciary financial responsibility to their shareholders, their company and consumers who want reliable, safe and affordable electricity. How do you balance those two? And there's a variety of competing ideas on how to do that

Renee Fox: The Power Grab is a production of WOSU Public Media and part of the NPR Network. It’s written and hosted by me, Renee Fox. The show is produced and edited by Michael De Bonis. Audio engineering by Dalton Jones. Additional voice work from Kevin Petrilla

Help us spread the word about the show. Please subscribe, rate and review the show on Apple and Spotify or wherever you listen.

We’ll be back next week. Thanks for listening.

Renee Fox is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News.