Federal PAC donations show Ohio Valley lawmakers have deployed thousands of FirstEnergy utility companies
Legislators across the Ohio Valley received nearly $ half a million in campaign contributions from 2019 to 2020 from a political action committee affiliated with FirstEnergy Corp. related rescued several fighting nuclear and coal-fired power stations.
FirstEnergy’s PAC donated $ 484,490 to elected officials in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky. The elected officials came from both parties and, according to an analysis by the Federal Election Commission, held a variety of political offices – from the US Senate and House to state houses to state audit offices Documents compiled from HEATED, a climate-focused newsletter from journalist Emily Atkin.
The federal prosecutor’s revelation last month that the Ohio-based company poured millions of dollars in dark money into a group, Generation Now, controlled by former Ohio House spokesman Larry Householder and his political allies drew the Curtain up on the oversized political influence of the utility company, which is one of the largest in the country.
For example, recent coverage from the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reportingfound a highly connected attorney with deep ties in Kentucky Republican politics linked to the Ohio case. Former General Counsel of the Kentucky Republican Party, Eric Lycan, is listed as Treasurer of Generation Now. Lycan is affiliated with several PACs and tax-exempt organizations in Kentucky and Canada West Virginia.
While the investigation is ongoing and continues to uncover links between the utility company, cMurray Energy company and lawmakers, FirstEnergy’s PAC’s contributions during the 2019-2020 campaign cycle provide insight into the company’s priorities.
Six U.S. Senators from West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania received campaign contributions from FirstEnergys PAC totaling $ 24,500.
The Country roads PAC, associated with Sen. Manchin, and Wild and wonderful PACAccording to records, Sen. Capito, who is affiliated with Sen. Capito, received $ 5,000 each in contributions from FirstEnergy’s PAC.
|Mitch McConnell (R)||Kentucky||$ 7,500|
|Sherrod Brown (D)||Ohio||$ 5,000|
|Rob Portman (R)||Ohio||$ 2,000|
|Pat Toomey (R)||Pennsylvania||$ 1,500|
|Shelley Moore Capito (R)||West Virginia||$ 5,000|
|Joe Manchin (D)||West Virginia||$ 3,500|
The three representatives of the US House of Representatives in West Virginia – Republicans David McKinley, Alex Mooney, and Carol Miller – each received US $ 7,500 campaign donations during this election cycle. In addition, 21 Republican House candidates and six Democrats from Ohio and Pennsylvania received campaign contributions.
Political contributions were received from every member of the US Congress delegation in Ohio and West Virginia.
Dozens of West Virginia lawmakers have also received donations from the utility’s federal PAC, including 45 members of the Statehouse, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia Chief Justice Tim Armstead, Secretary of State Mac Warner, and accountant JB McCuskey.
West Virginia governor Jim Justice was the only governor to have received money from the utility PAC. Republican Justice received $ 2,800, records show. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, also Republican, received $ 4,800. The 2020 Morrisey PAC received $ 2,800.
Some regional energy policy observers argue that exposing this dark money scandal should serve as a problem Wake up call for lawmakers in states where FirstEnergy does business, including West Virginia. The company operates two coal-fired power plants in West Virginia – the Fort Martin Power Station and the Harrison Power Station.
Former subsidiary FirstEnergy Solutions, which emerged from the bankruptcy reorganization as Energy Harbor in February, is the largest beneficiary of HB 6. The company operates two nuclear power plants in Ohio, one in Pennsylvania and two coal-fired power plants – the WH Sammis facility in Stratton, Ohio and the Pleasants Power Plant in West Virginia.
Last summer she did West Virginia law gave Pleasants a tax break of $ 12.5 million during a hasty special session.
The Ohio Valley ReSource reached out to many of the politicians who had received campaign submissions from FirstEnergy’s PAC and asked if the official was concerned about undue influence from the utility and whether he would or would consider returning the money
Only Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown’s campaign specifically said lawmakers had taken steps to distance themselves from the donation. Brown’s team said the senator donated FirstEnergy’s contributions to local Ohio charities, including food banks and YWCAs.