January 3, 2022
State of Ohio
Subject: Charter Revocation of FirstEnergy Corporation
Attorney General Yost,
We call on you to commence the revocation of the charter of FirstEnergy Corporation, a legal creation licensed in the State of Ohio by bringing an action in quo warranto as provided by Ohio Revised Code § 2733.02 to § 2733.39.
FirstEnergy Corporation was at the center of the $60 million bribery and money laundering scheme in Ohio, the largest in the state’s history, which defrauded taxpayers across Ohio to bailout two aging nuclear power plants.
FirstEnergy Corporation has admitted it paid $60 million to Generation Now, a front group controlled by Larry Householder, the indicted former Ohio House Speaker. This “dark money” was given in exchange for support by Householder and Generation Now in passing House Bill (HB) 6, the billion-dollar bailout bill to save the antiquated nuclear plants, and referendum campaign to overturn HB6.
FirstEnergy’s agreement with the federal government to pay $230 million and fulfill certain other requirements in exchange for the federal government agreeing not to pursue wire fraud or any other criminal charges is woefully insufficient in scale given the political and economic damage done by the corporation.
Independent of federal action, the State of Ohio can and should commence charter revocation (called "quo warranto") proceedings against FirstEnergy Corporation. You, as Attorney General, as defined in Ohio Revised Code (Chapter 2733), have the authority to initiate this action.
Quo warranto is a legal proceeding challenging the continued right of an individual or corporation to possess governmental privilege, be it an office in the case of an individual or charter in the case of a corporation.
Corporations should serve the public good. They receive their charter from the government, which grants them certain privileges and powers. Corporations that break the law and do so with intent should not simply be fined, as FirstEnergy Corporation has been, but have their charters revoked or terminated. Every day we see that monetary fines do not change criminal corporate behavior. FirstEnergy has forfeited its public privilege to exist.
Revocation of corporate charter was once common in Ohio in response to corporations acting beyond their authority as defined in their corporate charters. Quo warranto proceedings were once used routinely as a democratic tool by Ohio legislatures and courts to affirm the sovereign power of We the People over corporations, which are, after all, creations of government.
The most well-known quo warranto case in Ohio history involved the efforts to revoke the charter of the Standard Oil Company, the most powerful U.S. corporation of the time, for forming a trust. In the 1892 argument to revoke its franchise, a Republican predecessor of yours, Ohio Attorney General David Watson, argued:
Where a corporation, either directly or indirectly, submits to the domination of an agency unknown to the statute, or identifies itself with and unites in carrying out an agreement whose performance is injurious to the public, it thereby offends against the law of its creation and forfeits all right to its franchises, and judgment of ouster should be entered against it.
Commencing charter revocation action against FirstEnergy Corporation affirms that We the People and our elected representatives possess and should utilize this democratic tool to ensure that corporations are ultimately subordinate to us. It is also a legal means for elected officials and the courts to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents. It also will serve as a deterrent to others connected to corporations who feel they can act unlawfully, yet be protected by the corporate legal shield.
We look forward to your immediate commencement of this action to protect the health, safety and welfare of all Ohioans, as well as to protect what few authentic democratic rights We the People of Ohio still retain.
Move to Amend Ohio Network
Our Revolution Ohio
Ohio Community Rights Network
National Community Rights Network
Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund
Cuyahoga County Progressive Democrats
Athens Friends Meeting