Bribery Investigation Ohio

Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder leaves the Federal Courthouse after he was arrested in a $60 million federal bribery probe Tuesday, July 21, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio.

(The Center Square) – An indictment, an arrest, two guilty pleas and a $60 million bribery scandal did not stop former Ohio Speaker of the House Larry Householder from returning to the statehouse.

Householder, who faced opposition only from four write-in candidates in Ohio’s 72nd District, easily won re-election in a wide-ranging district that covers mostly rural areas in central and eastern Ohio but also includes some affluent and growing Columbus suburbs.

Householder faced opposition from four write-in candidates. His indictment and arrest came too late for Republicans to place another name on the ballot, and Democrats offered no challengers.

The secretary of state’s website listed Householder, R-Glenford, with 100% of the vote with 30,740. The site shows no votes for Kaitlyn Clark, Jay Conrad, Robert Leist or Marci McCaulay. Overall in Ohio, the site showed 311,519 outstanding absentee and provisional ballots.

Householder served as speaker from 2001-2004 and returned to the House in 2016, winning the speakership in January 2019.

In late July, the Ohio House voted unanimously to strip Householder of his speakership after a federal indictment that charged him with bribery and racketeering connected to House Bill 6, a nuclear energy bailout bill that provided billions of dollars for two Ohio nuclear power plants.

In all, five people faced charges in what the U.S. attorney called a $60 million scheme that funneled money from an energy company to Householder’s non-profit entity. The charging documents say Householder used that money to secure the speakership in exchange for help in passing HB 6.

Last month, a key campaign and political strategist for Householder and a lobbyist each pleaded guilty to their roles in the racketeering conspiracy.

A special House Select Committee held hearings throughout the fall in an attempt to repeal HB 6. No action was taken before an Oct. 1 deadline that could have stopped the new ratepayer fees from being collected.

At the time in a statement, Committee Chairman James Hoops, R-Napoleon, said the committee is “reviewing and determining” the next steps.

HB 6 created a new Ohio Clean Air Program to support nuclear energy plants and some solar power facilities. Electricity consumers fund the program, potentially bringing in up to $85 million in the 2021 fiscal year, with a surcharge that runs through 2027.

Regional Editor

An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.