A line in a routine financial disclosure form reveals that American Electric Power is one of the big donors helping to fund Ohio’s private-development department — to the tune of $2 million.
The AEP filing with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission also divulges that JobsOhio, the private, nonprofit office set up by Gov. John Kasich to guide jobs and investment expansion in Ohio, has a little-known companion agency that serves as a clearinghouse for its funding.
How the $2 million donation, JobsOhio and its companion entity are all tied together is confusing. But their relationship sheds new light on Kasich’s JobsOhio — an entity hailed by some for its effectiveness in growing the state’s economy but that by design operates mostly in secrecy.
Shielded from public-records laws and enabled to keep its dealings with businesses private in a way the now-defunct Ohio Department of Development never could, JobsOhio secured commitments from companies to create or retain 70,000 jobs worth about $2.3 billion in annual payroll and $4.5 billion in capital in 2012, officials said.