Monday, 03 August, 2020

Support Split On Who Succeeds Householder As Speaker

US-Bribery Investigation-Ohio Ohio House Speaker faces bribery charges, is removed from position
Cary Erickson | 01 August, 2020, 11:26

House members reconvened later in the day to elect the new speaker.

According to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of OH, the "enterprise conspired to violate the racketeering statute through honest services wire fraud, receipt of millions of dollars in bribes and money laundering".

Larry Householder, a Republican, was removed as speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives.

The House session Thursday morning took a matter of minutes, with 90 representatives voting in favor of vacating the office of the speaker.

In addition to Householder, 61, the feds also charged lobbyist Mathew Borges, 48, of Bexley, who previously chaired the Ohio Republican Party; Jeffrey Longstreth, 44, of Columbus, a longtime campaign and political strategist for Householder; lobbyist Neil Clark, 67, owner of Grant Street Consultants and former budget director for the Ohio Republican Caucus; and lobbyist Juan Cespedes, 40, of Columbus.

"Dark money is a breeding ground for corruption", U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers said in a statement. Householder was one of the driving forces behind the legislation, which included a fee to every electricity bill in the state and directed more than $150 million a year through 2026 to the plants near Cleveland and Toledo.

Prosecutors say the conspiracy was built to hide the origins of the money.

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Householder, a political aide and three lobbyists were arrested last week in what U.S. Attorney David DeVillers described as "likely the largest bribery, money-laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people in the state of OH".

Despite Thursday's vote, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost contends that the Speakership can not actually be revoked by vote, and must be revoked through a law passed by both chambers and signed by the governor. But Cupp noted Householder is running unopposed for his seat this fall.

The fight for his replacement is already underway, however.

Cupp replaces Larry Householder, whom legislators unanimously ousted from his leadership position earlier Thursday after Householder was charged in what the Federal Bureau of Investigation has described as a $60 million bribery scheme.

Three other potential candidates to be the next speaker - Reps. But it's unclear who will succeed him.

Before Thursday's removal vote, House lawmakers also introduced a bill that would add extortion and other criminal offenses to a list of offenses that could result in an official losing their public retirement benefits.

This breaking story will be updated.