Key individuals entangled in the corruption scandal involving the Ohio-based utility FirstEnergy were listed as “attendees” of a “watch party” for the inaugural parade of President Donald Trump. The event, hosted by the 527 political organization the Republican Governors Association (RGA), took place at the headquarters of the utility trade association Edison Electric Institute (EEI) in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2017, according to an event briefing obtained by Documented through a public records request.
The scandal has placed numerous individuals and politicians in the center of a pay-to-play scheme to pass Ohio House Bill 6 (HB 6), legislation that bailed out struggling coal and nuclear plants in the state.
Many Individuals involved in the scandal (note some of these individuals have not been named or charged in the criminal complaint) appear in the list prepared by the Republican Governors Association.
The list includes:
- Governor Mike DeWine: Reporting by the Dayton Daily News revealed FirstEnergy and FirstEnergy Solutions have donated more than $1 million to nonprofit groups and political campaigns since 2017 to help elect DeWine who ran for Governor and won in 2018. At the time of the event, DeWine served as the Ohio Attorney General. A spokesperson told Documented: "Governor DeWine recall’s [sic] attending a Governors’ event for the 2017 parade, although he does not recall a sponsor or specific building location. He does not recall any programming besides the parade."
- Former Ohio Speaker of the House Larry Householder: The Dayton Daily News reported Householder and his son flew on a FirstEnergy corporate airplane to and from D.C. for the 2017 presidential inauguration. In July 2020, FBI agents arrested Householder in connection with the HB 6 scheme. Householder’s trial is expected to take place in early 2023. In court documents, federal prosecutors outlined payments to Householder following his flight to D.C. for Trump’s inauguration aboard the FirstEnergy jet.
- Charles E Jones: Jones served as the FirstEnergy CEO. The company fired Jones in October 2020 in connection with the bribery scheme. The announcement came shortly after two pleaded guilty in the scandal.
- Jeff Longstreth of JPL & Associates: Longstreth is a longtime campaign and political strategist to former Ohio House Rep. Larry Householder. In October 2020, Longstreth signed a plea deal on behalf of Generation Now--the dark money group run by his consulting firm and involved in the scheme--and pleaded guilty to an identical individual charge.
The document that includes the list of attendees (starting on page 46) can be viewed in full below:
Householder, Jones, and Longstreth did not respond to a request for comment.