File-Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose speaking

Ohio secretary of state Frank LaRose speaks during a media tour of the Delaware County Board of Elections in Delaware, Ohio, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020.

(The Center Square) – The indicted Ohio state representative who faces federal charges in what prosecutors call a $60 million bribery and racketeering scheme, remains on the radar of Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who said a routine examination of campaign finance reports showed illegal activities.

LaRose said former House Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford, accepted campaign contributions beyond state limits in violation of state law. The release said five donors listed in Householder’s campaign finance reports contributed a combined $32,064.60 in excess of the state limit. LaRose said the contributions were made between March 11, 2019, and Jan. 15, 2020.

“The hits just keep on coming,” LaRose said in a statement last week. “These alleged repeated violations by Rep. Householder aren’t just a violation of state law, it’s a direct insult against the people of his district and the people of Ohio. Make no mistake, my team will remain vigilant in our reviews of all campaign finance records.”

Included in the contributions LaRose said were illegal were two from Juan Cespedes, who recently pleaded guilty to racketeering charges in the same probe that lead to Householder’s indictment.

LaRose said Cespedes contributed $1,000 on June 24, 2019, and $13,292 on Nov. 13, 2019, for a total contribution of $999.95 above the state limit.

Cespesdes admitted he orchestrated payments to Generation Now, a Householder nonprofit organization that also entered a guilty plea, and Cespesdes said he knew the payments were meant to help Householder politically in return for help in passing House Bill 6.

Former Householder adviser Jeffrey Longstretch and Cespesdes each pleaded guilty to participating in a racketeering conspiracy, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Householder won reelection November and introduced legislation last week that calls for more oversight of the governor and local health departments.

One bill would ask voters to approve his plan to change the state’s constitution to allow a simple majority vote of senators and representatives to modify or end an executive order from the governor.

The second would give county commissioners the ability to change or end any countywide order issued by a county board of health. According to his proposed bill, commissioners would need only to pass a resolution to alter or terminate and local order.

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.