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FirstEnergy reports smaller lobbying contributions in 2021

August 20, 2021 GMT
Acting U.S. Attorney Vipal J. Patel, center, accompanied by FBI Special Agent in Charge Chris Hoffman, speaks during a news conference in Cincinnati, Thursday, July 22, 2021. Federal authorities say Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. would pay a $230 million penalty and fully cooperate as part of an agreement announced Thursday to settle federal charges against the company in a sweeping bribery scheme in Ohio. (AP Photo/Farnoush Amiri)
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Acting U.S. Attorney Vipal J. Patel, center, accompanied by FBI Special Agent in Charge Chris Hoffman, speaks during a news conference in Cincinnati, Thursday, July 22, 2021. Federal authorities say Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. would pay a $230 million penalty and fully cooperate as part of an agreement announced Thursday to settle federal charges against the company in a sweeping bribery scheme in Ohio. (AP Photo/Farnoush Amiri)
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Acting U.S. Attorney Vipal J. Patel, center, accompanied by FBI Special Agent in Charge Chris Hoffman, speaks during a news conference in Cincinnati, Thursday, July 22, 2021. Federal authorities say Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. would pay a $230 million penalty and fully cooperate as part of an agreement announced Thursday to settle federal charges against the company in a sweeping bribery scheme in Ohio. (AP Photo/Farnoush Amiri)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The energy giant at the center of a $60 million bribery scheme in Ohio has dramatically decreased the amount of money it provides to dark money groups to influence public policy, according to a Friday filing required by a deal with federal prosecutors that allowed the company to avoid a criminal case.

The company paid $2.2 million to nonprofits and groups benefitting public officials during the first half of 2021, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported. That’s considerably below the approximately $60 million the company paid between 2017 and 2020 to dark money groups to fund a bailout of two aging nuclear power plants.

Last month FirstEnergy admitted to that dark money spending to benefit the power plants, and agreed to pay a $230 million fine. The company also agreed to disclose any dark money donations in the future, starting this year and continuing quarterly for three years.

The company has also said it’s reevaluating its previous denial that it used customer money to fund the scheme to win legislative approval of a $1 billion bailout for the two plants.