Gov. Mike DeVine said he was not aware of any misconduct committed by his chairman of the Ohio Public Utilities Commission, Sam Randazzo.
Randazzo has not been charged with any crime, but Akron’s FirstEnergy deferred prosecution agreement says the company paid Randazzo $ 4.3 million to work on their behalf.
More:FirstEnergy, accused of bribery scheme in Ohio, agreed to postpone prosecution for $ 230 million
“If, as indicated in the court documents, Sam Randazzo acted to improperly benefit First Energy, his motives were not known to me and my employees,” DeVin said in a statement.
DeVine said he knew Randazzo was with FirstEnergy when he appointed him. “Sam Randazzo was a renowned energy expert.”
In addition to picking Randazzo, DeVine also signed Bill 6 the day it hit his desk. The law included $ 1 billion in financial assistance for two FirstEnergy Solutions nuclear power plants in northern Ohio.
DeVine said he will donate all FirstEnergy donations to his campaign to the boys and girls clubs. The DeWine campaign determines the exact amount.
DeVine and a relative have also benefited from the dark money FirstEnergy has spent on recent campaigns. The dark money group FirstEnergy Partners for Progress donated $ 300,000 in 2019 to the nonprofit Securing Ohio’s Future, which has supported DeVin and the Lieutenant Governor. Governor’s Proposal by John Hasted in 2018.
Protecting Ohio Inc., which backed the failed proposal of Attorney Alice DeVine in Green County, was funded by two donations in 2019: $ 100,500 from Securing Ohio’s Future and $ 75,000 from Partners for Progress.
More:FirstEnergy’s money represented the bulk of donations to dark money companies backing DeVin and his daughter, documents show.
Jesse Balmert is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Akron Beacon Journal, Cincinnati Enquirer, Columbus Dispatch and 18 other affiliated news organizations in Ohio.