COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost issued the following statement today regarding the next steps in the House Bill 6 scandal:
“Yesterday’s guilty verdicts in federal court against Larry Householder and Matt Borges mark only the beginning of accountability regarding House Bill 6. With the federal prosecution complete, the state of Ohio’s racketeering lawsuit, which already stopped the implementation of HB 6, should now be able to resume.
Other wrongdoers in this scandal – especially and including the First Energy executives who funded the corrupt Householder Enterprise – cannot be permitted to escape scot-free. Money is the oxygen that fuels the fire of corruption. (Of course, it also requires the fuel of a corruptible public servant’s heart, and an ignition source – in this case, a piece of gold-plated legislation.)
I have asked Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Chris Brown to lift the stay on discovery in our civil case, a pause no longer needed now that the federal trial has concluded. Lifting the stay will allow us to continue collecting documents and to depose key witnesses in our ongoing effort to remedy the harm done.
Our work has already ended the nuclear subsidy and the “decoupling rider” that enshrined in Ohio law First Energy’s profitability. While portions of HB6 were eventually repealed, these two corrupt benefits for First Energy ended because of our lawsuit, not because of the legislative branch’s belated repeal. The repeal only came after we ended the flow of funds.
In addition, we successfully “froze” former PUCO Chairman Sam Randazzo’s financial assets. While he has asked the Ohio Supreme Court to “un-freeze” them while he appeals the order, the order remains in place. We are confident in our position, and fully intend to claw back those ill-gotten gains through our racketeering lawsuit.
The discovery process may yield additional information that will reveal an expanded number of defendants who participated in the corrupt Householder Enterprise.
A note on criminal charges: The Ohio Attorney General has no independent prosecution authority. Any county prosecuting attorney can invite our office to operate under his/her authority, or the General Assembly can request the Attorney General conduct a criminal investigation, or the Governor. Although my office remains willing to assist, the Attorney General cannot bring criminal charges against anyone involved in this criminal enterprise on his/her own.”
A copy of the filing to lift the stay is available here.