The campaign of Gov. Mike DeWine has given $19,755 in political contributions from three men indicted in the House Bill 6 scandal to the Ohio Association of Foodbanks.
The gift was disclosed after the Republican governor was questioned Thursday about his prior pledge to donate campaign contributions associated with those indicted to charity.
DeWine-Husted for Ohio donated $13,255 orginally received from Matt Borges, $6,000 from Juan Cespedes and $500 from Jeff Longstreth to the food group.
The three men, along with former House Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford, and lobbyist Neil Clark, were indicted in what federal prosecutors call a $60 million bribery and racketeering scheme. All have pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court.
Akron-based FirstEnergy and its interests routed the money to a nonprofit not required to disclose its donors to help pass House Bill 6 and defend its $1 billion bailout of a pair of nuclear power plants from an ultimately failed repeal referendum, prosecutors claim.
Householder and Clark did not contribute to DeWine’s campaign, but gave $400 and $600, respectively, to his inaugural and transition fund. Borges gave $2,500 to the fund.
The $2.1 million in inaugural funds long have been spent, with the $491,000 in unspent cash previously donated to charities, said DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney.
FirstEnergy’s largely employee-funded political action committee gave $25,202 to the 2018 DeWine campaign and $10,000 to his inaugural committee. Its CEO, Chuck Jones, also provided $12,700 in food and beverages for a DeWine fund-raiser.
Those donations have not been given to charities.
“FirstEnergy has not been accused of criminal wrongdoing,” Tierney said. “If those facts change, we will re-examine that.”
Several lawmakers and legislative candidates also have given campaign contributions they received from Householder and FirstEnergy to charities.