FirstEnergy Corp. to publicly disclose more political spending under deal with New York pension fund



COLUMBUS, Ohio—FirstEnergy Corp. has agreed to regularly open its books to the public about its political spending, under an agreement the scandal-ridden utility has reached with a New York State public pension fund.

Under the deal with the New York State Common Retirement Fund, FirstEnergy has agreed to post comprehensive reports on its website twice per year through May 2024 detailing all its spending on any candidates, political parties, and ballot measures in any state. The agreement was released Monday by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, the pension’s trustee.

Author(s): Jeremy Pelzer

Publication Date: 22 February 2021

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Unemployment System Fraud: Who’s Doing It and How?



The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that $63 billion – possibly more – has been paid out by state unemployment offices. California’s unemployment system alone says it paid out more than $11 billion to scammers in 2020. But who are these scammers? And how have they been able to collect upwards of $63 billion – including at least $330 million from Ohio? Here are some answers.


At least 70 percent of the bogus unemployment claims originated overseas in countries such as Nigeria, according to Haywood Talcove, CEO of the security firm LexisNexis Risk Solutions, citing data from a dozen states (Ohio isn’t one of them) that have hired his firm to help secure their unemployment systems.

A large portion of these scams are conducted by organized crime rings with names like “Scattered Canary” and “Yahoo Boys,” Hall said. “They literally just live in compounds and all they do, 24/7 is try to figure out how to trick people into stealing their identity and, you know, stripping their bank account of funds,” he said.


Publication Date: 11 February 2021

Publication Site: Governing

Can Vaccines Keep Up With Rapidly Evolving Coronavirus?



Experts told that although the virus may continue to mutate, there’s no reason to think it will render the vaccines ineffective. Pharmaceutical companies are already in the process of updating their vaccines to provide protection against the emerging variants, but the existing vaccines should provide enough protection to get the pandemic under control.

The prevalence of variants is partly the result of a global failure to contain the spread of COVID-19, experts said. The virus has had ample opportunity to evolve while infecting more than 100 million people worldwide.

Vaccines should limit the spread of infection, and that should reduce the chance that another concerning variant might emerge, said Gigi Gronvall, senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. There will be even fewer chances for those mutations to occur if everyone who is still waiting for a vaccine continues to follow precautions like wearing face masks.


Publication Date: 10 February 2021

Publication Site: Governing