Ohio Statehouse Rocked By Allegations of Householder
22 JUL 2020

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$60 MILLION BRIBERY SCHEME

Likely the largest bribery, money-laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people in the state of Ohio.” That’s how David DeVillers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, characterized the accusations against Republican Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, who was arrested Tuesday along with four associates. They are accused of carrying out a $60 million bribery scheme on behalf of FirstEnergy Corp. to install Householder as speaker, (get him elected) pass a $1.3 billion bailout of the company’s nuclear plants and enrich themselves.Jeremy Pelzer has details of the complaint, which also named Householder’s chief political aide Jeff Longstreth, and lobbyists Matt Borges, Neil Clark and Juan Cespedes.

The 82-page criminal complaint against Householder and the others goes into great detail about the alleged scheme, Eric Heisig reports. You can read the whole thing here.
 
The bigger picture: The scheme outlined by federal prosecutors described Ohio’s political system being corrupted by an elaborate scheme funded by FirstEnergy, Andrew Tobias writes.  Householder’s arrest makes an already crazy political climate in Ohio even crazier as the election nears, Seth Richardson writes. The political mess isn’t limited just to Householder and Republicans, but to everyone, Republicans and Democrats who helped put him in power and pass House Bill 6. It is a three part scheme.

  • one that helped elect Householder as speaker,
  • the second that passed the bailout,
  • and the third that defended House Bill 6 (HB6) from a well-financed repeal effort

What does this mean for Ohioans ?  
HB6 legislation designates Ohioans to subsidize nuclear and coal power plants with millions of dollars from the public and effectively gut the state’s green-energy mandates for utilities. We  must Get out and vote Your Vote Counts!
 
Who’s who: Here’s the lowdown on HouseholderLongstrethBorgesClark and Cespedes and the accusations against them. Click the links for details.

It isn’t the first time Borges has been implicated in a public corruption case. As John Caniglia reports, the lobbyist and former Ohio GOP chairman nearly 16 years ago pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor related to his job as chief of staff for then-state Treasurer Joe Deters. The charge was the unauthorized use of a public office for securing preferential treatment for brokers who made campaign contributions.

So Whats Next?

  • Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the Ohio House are preparing to introduce legislation to repeal House Bill 6,Environmental groups are hoping for a repeal of the controversial nuclear bailout bill Emily Bamforth reports.
  • Gov. Mike DeWine led a group of Republican officeholders who called for Householder’s resignation. Per Richardson and Pelzer, also joining in were Senate President Larry Obhof, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Attorney General Dave Yost and Ohio Republican Party Chairman Jane Timken. Democratic House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes and Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko likewise called for Householder to step down.
  • Householder’s House leadership team, said in a joint statement they were reviewing the allegations.
  • Householder told reporters outside the federal courthouse Tuesday that he would not resign, Pelzer reports.
  • While the criminal complaint details secret money transactions, Householder’s campaign was also a recipient of FirstEnergy money publicly reported.
  • FirstEnergy has not been hit with any charges at this time, bu their stocks took a big dive after reports emerged about the bribery allegations.
  • LaRose announced Tuesday he had referred apparent campaign violations described in the federal charging documents to the Ohio Elections Commission for further review