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New documents reveal dark money donations from FirstEnergy to state leaders | Reporters Roundtable

FirstEnergy headquarters in Downtown Akron
Annie Wu
Ideastream Public Media
FirstEnergy is headquartered in Akron, Ohio.

Newly released documents indicate Akron-based FirstEnergy made secret payments that helped benefit the 2018 campaign of Governor Mike DeWine. The payments made via dark money groups came in addition to the company's admitted bribing of former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder as part of a scheme to put him back in power and pass the massive energy-policy bill, House Bill 6. The governor says he was unaware of the payments. Neither DeWine nor Lt. Governor Jon Husted have ever been implicated in connection with the scandal.

The story tops this week's discussion of news on the Reporters Roundtable.

Cleveland has handed over management of the West Side Market to a nonprofit. The Cleveland Public Market Corporation will handle the day-to-day operations of the market including $44 million in planned improvements.

Ohio lawmakers are moving ahead with bills to limit cell phone use by students in public schools. The Senate passed its version of the bill Wednesday. The governor called on lawmakers to take up the issue during his State of the State speech earlier this month. The governor said he believes cell phones are a distraction to education and impact students' mental health.

A state audit has raised concerns about the financial sustainability of Lakeland Community College. The audit concluded the college is in financial trouble and needs to correct course quickly. Lakeland serves about 5,000 students in Lake County.

Does Cleveland's city flag need a makeover? A group is seeking design applications to do just that. The CLE Flag Project which is sponsored by Cleveland chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts presented the idea to a council caucus meeting.

-Stephen Langel, Reporter, Ideastream Public Media
-Sam Allard, Reporter, Axios Cleveland
-Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV

Leigh Barr is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and the "Sound of Ideas Reporters Roundtable."