“Federal investigators have accused Ohio's recently deposed House speaker of running a racketeering ring. The question now is whether they will charge the utility that financed it.
The case has significant implications for how corporations seek to shape public opinion on climate and energy policy. Electric utilities have joined the rush to employ dark money groups since 2010, when the Supreme Court eased restrictions on corporate spending in elections.
There's been a rash of freewheeling influence ever since.
An Arizona utility admitted last year it contributed to dark money groups that attacked pro-solar candidates running for the Arizona Corporation Commission, the state board overseeing power companies.
In Michigan, utility officials acknowledged pumping millions of dollars into a dark money group that savaged a state lawmaker who favored breaking up a corporate monopoly on electricity generation.”