“Former PUCO Chairman Randazzo charged in 11-count indictment related to HB 6 scandal”
On December 4, 2023, former Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Chairman Sam Randazzo was charged in an 11-count indictment related to the $61 million scandal surrounding House Bill 6, uncovered in July of 2020.
The FBI and US Attorney’s office remained vigilant in their ongoing investigation of Randazzo’s alleged crimes involving fraud and embezzlement, some of which are just coming to light through the indictments.
While this indictment was a long time coming, there is hope it will be a step forward in clearing the cloud of corruption hanging over energy policy in Ohio and ending the cycle of deceit perpetrated by FirstEnergy and their allies.
The 11 counts against Randazzo include:one count of conspiring to commit travel act bribery and honest services wire fraud, two counts of travel act bribery, two counts of honest services wire fraud, one count of wire fraud and five counts of making illegal monetary transactions, according to the release.
How did we get here?
For years, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has been stacked against the consumers of our state. It has instead been focused more on increasing the profits of Ohio’s regulated utilities and offering opportunities for individuals to line their own pockets at the expense of our families.
In July 2020, the US Attorney’s office shined the spotlight on long-standing issues surrounding energy policy issues in Ohio.
The $61 million bribery and corruption scandal around House Bill 6 remained in the spotlight through the trial and sentencing of former House Speaker Larry Householder and former GOP Party Chairman Matt Borges. Householder was found guilty and is currently serving a 20-year sentence in federal prison, while Borgess was also found guilty and is serving a 5-year sentence.
While political operatives Juan Cespedes and Jeffrey Longstreth have entered guilty pleas but have not been sentenced.
No FirstEnergy official has been indicted at this time.
Now, three years and multiple prison sentences later, the lack of transparency and undue influence of regulated utilities remains.
There are still no PUCO Commissioners with consumer advocacy experience. Our energy policies remain the worst in the nation.
The Rise and Fall of Sam Randazzo
Through a deferred prosecution agreement accepted by FirstEnergy Corporation, evidence has been made public of a $4.3 million bribe paid to former PUCO Chairman Sam Randazzo. The paper trail shows Randazzo received this payment “at the request or for the benefit of FirstEnergy as a consequence of receiving such payment.”
Emails obtained by the FBI also show that Randazzo worked on House Bill 6, the nuclear and coal bailout bill that gutted the state’s renewable energy programs, and fought against a citizen-led referendum effort while leading the PUCO.
Sam Randazzo, who previously chaired the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, has been charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, wire fraud and other crimes linked to Ohio’s ongoing corruption scandal, along with embezzlement charges.