American Electric Power maintains its headquarters in Downtown Columbus. (Photo: Fred Squillante/Columbus Dispatch)

A dark money group wholly funded by House Bill 6 beneficiary and Columbus utility giant American Electric Power contributed $350,000 toward the campaigns now at the center of a racketeering and bribery case that ensnared House Speaker Larry Householder, an investigation by The Dispatch finds.

Empowering Ohio’s Economy Inc., a nonprofit operated solely with AEP funds, gave $150,000 to Generation Now, another dark money group that received $60 million from FirstEnergy-related interests to ensure passage and survival of a $1 billion ratepayer bailout of a subsidiary’s pair of nuclear power plants.

Empowering Ohio also gave $200,000 to the Coalition for Opportunity & Growth, which is related to a similarly named political action committee that donated $1 million to the 2018 campaigns of Householder-favored Republican candidates to help ensure that he had their votes to become speaker.