Holding Utility Accountable


Letter to the Editor, Akron Beacon Journal, August 5, 2020

Those involved in the $60 million bribery scandal linked to the bailout of former FirstEnergy Corp. (now Energy Harbor) nuclear plants will be, hopefully, held accountable for their actions if guilty – including prison time.

What about First Energy? The corporation hasn’t been indicted, but the legal entity, distinct from its employees, is connected to funding the alleged money-laundering scheme and taking $1.3 billion from ratepayers. This is on top of tens of millions of dollars invested over decades in political campaign contributions to candidates and incumbents from the company’s PAC to ensure its corporate interests are served.

How should the corporation be held publicly accountable if it’s indicted and found guilty – beyond repealing HB 6? Simply fining it would only result in a tax write off.

An excellent step is to act in the spirit of former Cleveland Mayor Tom Johnson who declared: “I believe in the municipal ownership of all public service monopolies because if you do not own them they in turn will own you. They will rule your politics, corrupt your institutions and finally destroy your liberties.”

This precisely describes the anti-democratic impact of FirstEnergy and why its corporate charter should be revoked toward its conversion to municipal/democratic ownership.

A critical action toward legitimate corporate accountability is to abolish all their constitutional rights that were intended solely for human beings, the goal of the We the People Amendment [House Joint Resolution 48], co-sponsored by 73 Congresspersons, including Rep. Marcia Fudge. The corporate hijacking of constitutional amendments include First Amendment political free speech “rights,” permitting corporate entities to invest in political campaigns, and Fourth Amendment search and seizure “rights,” which shield corporations from regulatory inspections. Could FirstEnergy have wielded its political power and shielded their financial conditions without these Supreme Court-invented “rights”?

It’s time to reassert democratic authority over these legal, artificial creations.

Greg Coleridge

Cleveland Heights

Outreach Director, Move to Amend Coalition

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s