DeWine aide who set up 'dark-money' group for FirstEnergy resigns

Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.
Posted at 5:41 PM, Sep 24, 2021

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine's legislative affairs director Dan McCarthy, a former FirstEnergy lobbyist, resigned from his position with the governor on Thursday. That resignation took effect Friday, according to DeWine's office.

McCarthy has been at the forefront of a 2019 energy bailout scandal involving utility company FirstEnergy, starting a 501(c)(4) “dark-money” group while he was still a company lobbyist.

Through the dark-money group Partners for Progress, FirstEnergy passed a stream of money in a $61 million package to buy a $1.3 billion bailout from taxpayers.

RELATED: FirstEnergy admits it controlled dark money group started by DeWine aide

McCarthy resigned from being president of Partners for Progress in 2019 and became DeWine's legislative affairs director, working to pass the corrupt bailout measure, as reported by the Ohio Capital Journal.

In August, two Ohio House Democrats, Reps. Jeffrey Crossman, of Parma, and Casey Weinstein, of Hudson, asked Inspector General Randall Meyer to investigate four of DeWine's staffers, including McCarthy.

Despite the scandal and McCarthy's position in it, DeWine has remained a defender of his aide.

On Thursday, however, McCarthy submitted his letter of resignation to DeWine's office, thanking him for the opportunity and experience before stepping down from his position.

"But, as with any intense experience, there is a time to take a break. Before taking this job, I talked to five of my predecessors in this role and they all told me to make a one year commitment and definitely not more than two because of the pace and grind. They were right. I know I’ve run quite a bit over my two year commitment but I think now is the right time to resign as your Legislative Director," McCarthy wrote in his resignation letter.

With McCarthy resigning, deputy director Aaron Crooks will be promoted to DeWine's legislative director, the governor's office confirmed.

You can read McCarthy's full letter of resignation below:

RELATED: After scandal broke, FirstEnergy lobbyist pushed DeWine on 'covid response'

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