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.

Go deeper

Jul 31, 2020 - Podcasts

Ohio Secretary of State: Election results could take weeks

We obviously don’t know who will win this year’s presidential election, but we do know that the 2020 voting process will be more complicated than in any past election of our lifetimes in terms of safety, security, and logistics.

Axios Re:Cap digs in with Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican, who tells us he's confident in the process but that it could take weeks to know results from his state.

Elliott Abrams to replace Brian Hook as Trump's Iran envoy

Brian Hook. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Image

President Trump's Iran envoy, Brian Hook, is stepping down, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed Thursday. He will be replaced with Venezuela envoy Elliott Abrams, a noted Iran hawk who will serve in both roles.

Why it matters: Hook had been tasked with executing Trump's "maximum pressure" policy toward Iran, working closely with Pompeo. That strategy has deepened tensions and thus far failed to force Iran back to the negotiating table, as Trump had hoped.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests positive for coronavirus ahead of Trump visit

Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) has tested positive for COVID-19 and plans to quarantine at his home for the next 14 days, his office announced Thursday. He currently has no symptoms.

Why it matters: The 73-year-old DeWine was set to meet President Trump Thursday on the tarmac at an airport in Cleveland and was tested as part of standard protocol. He is the second governor known to have contracted the coronavirus, after Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R).