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Who is secretly funding campaign to bail out Ohio’s nuclear reactors?

Voters need to know who’s behind nuclear campaign, groups argue,    JIM PROVANCE,

COLUMBUS — Holes in Ohio’s campaign finance law allow corporations to secretly fund campaigns battling over Ohio’s new nuclear bailout, which undermines direct democracy and intimidates voters, government watchdog groups said on Thursday.

They called on lawmakers to update the state’s campaign finance law to prevent such groups from hiding behind nebulous nonprofit and limited liability corporations to shield the identities of the deep pockets behind them.

“It’s fear-mongering,” said Jen Miller, director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio. “It’s this idea that somehow China wants our information. … They probably wouldn’t make those kinds of statements if they would be held accountable by their shareholders or by the public if we knew who they were.”

The U.S. Supreme Court held in its 2010 Citizens United decision that corporations may exercise political speech through money and blocked states from limiting that speech. But the court left the door open for government to require public disclosure of those putting up the cash.Ohio talked about doing that but never followed through.

Most of the criticism on Thursday focused on Ohioans for Energy Security, the group trying to thwart efforts by petitioners to put House Bill 6 on the November, 2020, election ballot in hopes voters will reject it.

As tracked by Columbus-based Medium Buying, the group has purchased nearly $3.4 million in TV, cable, and radio airtime through Friday as it seeks to convince would-be petition signers that the Chinese are behind the repeal effort. Through these ads and direct mail, they’ve also said signing the petitions would amount to turning over personal information to the Chinese government.

But both sides of the energy law fight have created limited liability corporations to fund their operations. Both have promised to follow Ohio law as it is, but that means they could still use their corporate entities to shield the names of their individual, business, or union backers and the amounts they ponied up.

“We’re asking for a light to be shown on all the money,” said Catherine Turcer, executive director of Common Cause Ohio. “… We’re really interested in understanding the political landscape and to be able to follow the money no matter who spends it.”

House Bill 6 is set to go into effect Oct. 21. It would surcharge consumers on their electricity bills to create a $170 million-a-year fund through 2026. Of that, $150 million would go to support FirstEnergy Solutions’ Davis-Besse nuclear plant near Oak Harbor and Perry plant east of Cleveland.

The remaining $20 million would go to six utility-scale solar fields that already have received siting approval, most of them in southern Ohio.

The law also separately would impose statewide surcharges through 2030 to support two 1950s-era coal-fired power plants owned by a multiutility corporation. Those plants are in southern Ohio and southeast Indiana.

There is no official campaign yet. Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts, the entity hoping to ask voters to repeal House Bill 6, has until Oct. 21 to file at least 265,774 valid signatures of registered voters to put the law on hold at least through the 2020 vote.

That group will have to file its first report 30 days after the filing of signatures detailing its petition circulation activities, but it remains to be seen how specific that filing will be in terms of individual names and amounts.

Nothing would prevent either side from voluntarily disclosing their donors.

“We will exercise our First Amendment rights as any citizen is allowed to do,” said Carlo LoParo, spokesman for Ohioans for Energy Security. “When the law requires us to disclose, we will disclose, just like the other side.

“… They’re not letting you know that it’s a handful of natural gas companies … ” he said. “When the law requires them to disclose, they will disclose. When the law requires us to disclose, we will certainly disclose.”

The group maintains that a bank tied to the government of China is financially backing natural gas operations in Ohio and, therefore, the petition effort.

On the other side, the conjecture has been that FirstEnergy Solutions or its investors is behind the campaign.

“We are left assuming the worst about FirstEnergy Solutions, but we don’t actually know,” Ms. Turcer said. “It could be FirstEnergy Solutions. We should not be in a time period where we receive something in the mail about elections and we don’t actually understand what it’s about.”

Contact Jim Provance at or 614-221-0496.

September 20, 2019 - Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA

1 Comment »

  1. Pro-Nuke-Holocaust Denier Cory Booker Must Not Be President
    By Harvey Wasserman

    Senator Cory Booker has become a Pro-Nuke-Holocaust Denier and must not be president or vice.

    As desperate mostly-young millions march worldwide for the survival of our Earth, Booker embraces explosive atomic 500-F climate killing machines that are roasting Her.

    Any of our 96 badly run, rarely inspected US nukes could explode into a nuclear holocaust at any time.

    In Booker’s New Jersey, three dying public-subsidized nukes spew heat, radiation and carbon. Their safety is “guaranteed” by Trump’s fake Nuclear Regulatory Commission. They’re dangerously decrepit, but what’s he done to to guarantee their safety? (Hint: they can’t get private insurance).

    Now he’s Trump-style slandering the global grassroots safe energy movement for demanding nuke accountability.

    Nuke reactors spew gargantuan quantities of waste heat and deadly radiation. That includes Carbon 14, a global warming agent.

    Carbon-emitting reactor fuel production demands carbon-emitting mining, milling, transport and enrichment. So does fuel to run pools for spent rods that will explode if not forever cooled (see WIPP, New Mexico).

    40 years ago this month 90,000 eco-fans heard the Musicians United for Safe Energy Concerts over five nights in Madison Square Garden. Some 200,000 rocked our rally at Battery Park City.

    Three Mile Island had earlier poured radiation into central Pennsylvania. TMI’s owner denied the melt-down, the emissions, the health impacts.

    But after the concerts I visited local farms, met the families, consulted their doctors…and veterinarians… The feds had long since predicted a reactor accident could wipe out an area the size of Pennsylvania and kill thousands.

    At kitchen tables I heard awful tales of death and disease, of stillborn infants, dying children, Down’s Syndrome, dead animals and orchards. I held a dog born with no eyes, saw a cat that couldn’t stand, horses that couldn’t breed, a pile of dead wild birds. The Baltimore News-American confirmed the stories, as did Dell/Delta’s Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience with Atomic Radiation (now free on line), and others.

    In 1996, in Kiev and Russia, I heard far more/worse stories from Chernobyl survivors. I will not return to Japan, where I’d joined giant marches demanding Fukushima not be built on seismic faults washed by tsunamis.

    Over nearly a half-century of activism I’ve never met a No Nuker who denies climate change. Saving our eco-balance remains everywhere a major motivation to shut all nuke reactors before the next one blows up.

    But now the come-lately genius Corey Booker tells us we’re all Climate Deniers.

    He might’ve joined the debate with dignity and respect. But since any of the three falling-down Trump-run nukes in his own state (where I have children and grandchldren) could at any time render the entire east coast a radioactive ruin, filled with human agony and ecological horror, let’s just call him what he is: a Holocaust Denier.

    Comment by dl | September 22, 2019 | Reply

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