The Ohio House expelled its Republican speaker in a unanimous, bipartisan vote after being charged in connection with a $ 60 million bribery scheme.
Rep. Larry Householder and four others were arrested on July 21 and charged under the racketeer and bribery investigation in what investigators called “the biggest bribery, money-laundering scheme against the people of the state of Ohio.”
According to local news reports, the householder has not spoken publicly about the case.
The arrests were part of a year-long investigation into a law relating to public corruption and bribery, which closed two nuclear power plants in the state. The former speaker and his colleagues allege that two FirstEnergy nuclear plants were financially bailed out of $ 1 billion to accept corporate money for personal and political use to pass House Bill 6.
The householder was a major player in the law, adding a fee to each state’s electricity bill and directing $ 150 million per year through 2026 for plants near Cleveland and Toledo.
5 Ohio family members were sent home to police protection
“This is the most important thing we have done today, who are likely candidates to be the next speaker,” said former Supreme Court Justice GOP Rep. Bob Knoop. There is no doubt that people are unfaithful, use it. , And it is a blot on the House, and people want to make sure that we start afresh. “
The Householder is the first Ohio House Speaker removed by the Chamber.
Members of the Householder’s leadership team said he was entitled to uphold innocence, but “lost the trust of his colleagues and the public” and could not effectively lead the House. The householder was asked to step down by colleagues on both sides, but he refused.
The householder, former Ohio GOP chairman Matt Borges, lobbyist Neil Clarke, lobist and Ohio Civil Rights Commission member Juan Cespedes and political consultant Jeff Longstreth, could face up to 20 years in prison if they pass bailout and block attempts. Is blamed for his alleged work. According to a criminal complaint filed by the FBI, reverse it.
Ohio House Speakers, 4 branches built under the Birlay Scheme
Carlos Schneider, Borges’ lawyer, said his client’s involvement in the case was “wildly overstated”.
The householder was a speaker from 2019 to 2009 to 2001. He stepped down due to term limits, but reappointed the House in 2001. He was viewed as one of the most powerful and influential state lawmakers in Ohio.
Previous attempts to bail out nuclear plants were stalled in the legislature before the householder became speaker. Months after assuming office, he launched a new plan to subsidize plants and eliminate renewable energy incentives. The proposal was approved a year ago despite opposition from many business leaders and the manufacturing industry.
This is also not the first time a householder has been investigated for questionable practices.
At the time he stepped down, he and several top advisers were under federal investigation for alleged money laundering and irregular campaign practices. The government closed the case without filing charges.
The householder is the second Ohio House speaker to conduct the inquiry in just two years.
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Former Republican speaker Cliff Rosenberger was placed in 2018 amid an investigation into his travels, lavish lifestyles and a condo rented from a wealthy GOP donor. Rosenberger, who maintains he has not broken any law, has not been charged, but the investigation is still ongoing.
Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly and The Associated Press contributed to this report.