Texts and emails detail process behind House Bill 6 during Householder, Borges trial
The process behind House Bill 6 — the $1 billion nuclear bailout bill — took center stage during the trial of Larry Householder and Matt Borges on Thursday.
Blane Wetzel, FBI special agent, took the stand for his fourth day of testimony as a witness for the prosecution.
Emily Glatfelter, assistant U.S. attorney, walked Wetzel through different text messages, emails, and other documents he obtained in his investigation.
Several text conversations between then-FirstEnergy CEO Chuck Jones and Householder showed Jones’ interest in Householder and his supporters winning their 2018 General Election races then more conversations to find out if Householder had enough votes to become speaker.
Jones asked then-FirstEnergy vice president Michael Dowling about Householder’s speakers race during a text message conversation on November 7, 2018.
Jones said it would be “nice” to get Householder’s opponent, Ryan Smith, out of the race and suggested possibly getting Smith a spot in Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration.
Dowling suggested Jones “let it play out.”
After discussing his path to becoming House speaker, the prosecution showed documents underlining how Householder made energy policy a priority in the Ohio House. That included the creation of a new energy generation House subcommittee.
Other documents showed a piece of draft legislation that FirstEnergy was circulating that ended up resembling the first draft of House Bill 6 and a celebration FirstEnergy lobbyists attended with supporters of House Bill 6 after the legislation passed the House.
The text messages provided a behind the scenes look at the process of how House Bill 6 was passed.
One series of text threads show Householder discussing the status of the bill with Jones. During one thread, Jones urges that the bailout bill needed to be extended from six years to 10.
The two also discussed how Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted could rally support for the bill in the legislature and how Jones thought Husted could get Senators to support the extension.
Householder and Borges are accused of playing a role in a bribery scheme where FirstEnergy sent millions of dollars to Householder in exchange for passing the bailout.