Jul 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Ohio House speaker charged in $60 million bribery investigation

A picture of the ohio statehouse
The Ohio statehouse. Photo: Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images

Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R) and four others were arrested on Tuesday on charges stemming from a $60 million bribery case brought by U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio David DeVillers.

Why it matters: It's likely the "largest bribery, money-laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people of the state of Ohio," DeVillers said at a press conference.

Details: According to an 80-page criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday, a dark-money "enterprise" received millions of dollars from March 2017 to March 2020 "in exchange for Householder’s and the enterprise’s help in passing House Bill 6, a billion-dollar bailout that saved two failed, Ohio nuclear power plants from closing."

  • That money was used to line Householder's pockets and help him secure support for his Ohio House speaker bid, according to DeVillers.
  • The four additional men arrested include Householder adviser Jeffrey Longstreth, lobbyist Neil Clark, former Ohio Republican Party chair Matthew Borges and co-founder of The Oxley Group Juan Cespedes.
  • Householder and his associates made incriminating statements about their illegal activities in meetings with undercover agents. More arrests are expected, according to DeVillers.

What they're saying: "All forms of public corruption are unacceptable," said FBI Cincinnati Special Agent in Charge Chris Hoffman. "When the corruption is alleged to reach some of the highest levels of our state government, the citizens of Ohio should be shocked and appalled."

What to watch: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) called on Householder to resign, saying it would be impossible for him to serve effectively as leader of the Ohio legislature.

Read the FBI complaint.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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