Republican Governance

Ohio State House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Perry County) has been arrested for bribery involving a massive state bailout for two nuclear power plants in the state:

Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder was arrested Tuesday morning ahead of an announcement about a $60 million federal racketeering case related to Ohio’s new nuclear bailout law, according to sources and media reports.

FBI agents, who were assisted by the Perry County Sheriff’s Department, were deployed to Householder’s property in Glenford, the Dayton Daily News reported. The investigation centers on House Bill 6, the $1 billion-plus ratepayer bailout of two Ohio nuclear power plants owned by FirstEnergy Solutions (now Energy Harbor) that Householder helped push through last year with the help of millions in dark money, according to the Toledo Blade.

Besides Householder, four others have been arrested, according to sources and media reports: former Ohio Republican Party Chair-turned-consultant Matt Borges, prominent lobbyist Neil Clark, FirstEnergy Solutions lobbyist Juan Cespedes, and Householder aide Jeff Longstreth. All are currently in custody, according to a source.


The news comes as the FBI and U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers called a news conference in Columbus at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to announce charges related to $60 million bribe to a “state official” and “associates.”

The campaign to pass HB6 — as well as their brutally successful effort to stop opponents from hold a statewide referendum to overturn it — included a wave of campaign donations from FirstEnergy Corp., as well as a multi-million-dollar ad campaign paid for with dark money.

It’s not the first time the FBI has looked into Householder’s activities. In 2004, during the Republican’s first stint as speaker, the FBI opened an investigation into Householder after receiving an anonymous tip that the speaker and aides received kickbacks from vendors doing business with the Ohio House GOP’s campaign arm. That investigation closed in 2006 without any charges being filed.

The details seem to indicate that this was more of a shake-down by Householder and his Evil Minions rather than the graft naturally flowing from the utility:

Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder’s political operation accepted more than $60 million in bribe money from FirstEnergy Corp. to secure the company a $1.3 billion public bailout, according to a federal complaint filed Thursday.


“(It) is likely the largest bribery, money-laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people in the state of Ohio,” said David DeVillers, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, during a news conference Tuesday.

In all, Householder received more than $500,000 for his personal benefit, according to DeVillers.

More than $100,000 of the bribe money from FirstEnergy Corp. was used to pay costs associated with Householder’s Florida home, and at least $97,000 was used to pay expenses for Householder’s 2018 House campaign, the complaint stated.


DeVillers said there’s a “strong inference” in the complaint that Householder and his allies approached FirstEnergy, rather than the other way around.

“This enterprise went looking for someone to bribe them,” DeVillers said.


Other money went to fight an (ultimately unsuccessfully) attempt by HB6 opponents last summer to organize a statewide referendum to repeal HB6, which Gov. Mike DeWine signed in late July 2019.

Between July and October of last year, FirstEnergy Solutions wired more than $38 million to Generation Now to help defeat the referendum effort, which the group did through a barrage of TV ads and schemes to prevent opponents from collecting the necessary signatures, including hiring people to intimidate petition canvassers.

When they say, “Hiring people to intimidate petition canvassers,” they mean paying money to get the canvassers to quit, and having people harass, and in some cases assault, petition gatherers.

Nothing the see here, just Republican Party governance in its purest form.

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