In the Aug. 11 edition of The Messenger, Fromal and others urge the Ohio Attorney General to pursue a “Quo Warranto” action to do just that. Maybe that would be a good thing. Maybe it is the only appropriate response to the egregiously illegal activity of First Energy – the biggest bribery event in Ohio history.
Corporations are chartered by the state to serve the public good. Corporate criminal behavior is not changed by levying fines. For a large corporation, it is just another business expense. A bigger stick is needed. Corporations intentionally breaking the law should not simply be fined; their charters must be revoked. Otherwise, the public has no protection against being pickpocketed by corporations, especially utilities like First Energy.
As Greg Coleridge noted in the March 2 Oho Capital Journal, and documented extensively in Citizens Over Corporations (https://poclad.org/BWA/2003/BWA_2003_WINTER.html), it was once common in Ohio for the state to revoke charters of corporations acting illegally. Quo warranto proceedings were
used routinely as a tool by Ohio legislatures and courts to affirm the sovereign power of We the People over corporations, which are, in fact, creations of government. Charter revocation follows a strong historical precedent already set in our state. It is not resorting to a radical act. The truly radical act is a rogue corporation bribing public officials to get the public to cover their losses. Charter revocation is perhaps the only way to protect Ohio taxpayers and democracy in Ohio from corporate dominance through corporate corruption. It will serve as a deterrent to others from extorting wealth from Ohioans through illegal activity intended to manipulate government officials, corrupting our democratic republic.
There are other private business corporations as well as public cooperatives which can provide electricity for Ohioans. FirstEnergy has forfeited its public privilege to continue. It is time for public officials to demand that the Ohio Attorney General initiate a Quo Warranto case against First Energy.
John Howell, Athens