Moreno “Welcoming Big Player’s Support” In FirstEnergy Scandal That Cost “Everyday Ohioans”

Government and Politics

June 13, 2024

Ohio Capital Journal: “[Bernie Moreno Is] Welcoming The Support Of A Man Who Brokered What Was Perhaps The Key Relationship In A Scheme…That Fell On The Backs Of Ratepayers — Which Is To Say Everyday Ohioans.”

Columbus, OH –  Bernie Moreno was caught “welcoming” the support and campaigning behind closed doors with Tony George a “big player” in the FirstEnergy scandal which led to a $1.3 billion bailout “that fell on the backs of… everyday Ohioans.” This is not Moreno’s first time cozying up to individuals involved in the largest corruption scandal in state history, with previous reporting finding he “accepted a large donation” from an individual involved in the scandal.

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Ohio Capital Journal: Moreno blasted rivals over scandal. Now he’s welcoming a big player’s support
Marty Schladen
June 13, 2024

  • But now [Bernie Moreno is] welcoming the support of a man who brokered what was perhaps the key relationship in a scheme in which Akron-based FirstEnergy paid $61 million to purchase a $1.3 billion bailout that fell on the backs of ratepayers — which is to say everyday Ohioans.
  • The supporter, Cleveland businessman Tony George, invited a now-convicted lawmaker to travel on FirstEnergy’s private jet… and booked the lawmaker and FirstEnergy executives into the same hotel for days of events during which federal prosecutors say the conspiracy began. George was still communicating with the central players in 2020, when the FBI started making arrests.
  • When asked to comment on the seeming hypocrisy, Moreno’s campaign didn’t respond directly.
  • In a Spectrum News 1 debate on Feb. 19, Moreno went after his Republican opponents, State Sen. Matt Dolan and Secretary of State Frank LaRose… But as for Moreno’s problems with figures who were involved in the bailout scandal, they appear to extend only to his political opponents — not his supporters.
  • On May 16, his campaign held a Bourbon With Bernie fundraiser in Mentor. Cleveland businessman Tony George was a host, a privilege for which George paid $2,500.
  • In addition to being a Moreno supporter, George has had a long and lucrative relationship with FirstEnergy. Entities linked to George received nearly $11 million from FirstEnergy over the years, according to a state audit.
  • But George’s role was substantial enough that he was called “Individual B” in FirstEnergy’s deferred prosecution agreement — a document in which the utility copped to its culpability for the bribery scandal, along with paying out $230 million. It lays out Individual B’s close relationship with FirstEnergy’s top executive and to Householder from the fall of 2016, when Householder was plotting his return to the House and then to regain the speaker’s gavel.
  • The Moreno campaign this week declined to answer questions about these matters on the record.
  • It was asked whether Moreno was aware of George’s involvement in the HB 6 affair when Moreno accepted George’s support. It was also asked if Moreno would return George’s money and decline support in the future.