Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder on Tuesday was arrested in connection to a $60 million bribery scheme.
Householder, a Republican, was one of five state officials and associates arrested for “public corruption and racketeering conspiracy,” according to a federal complaint that describes a years-long bribery campaign to build support for Householder’s bid to become House speaker in exchange for help passing House Bill 6, a billion-dollar bailout that saved two nuclear power plants operated by FirstEnergy Corp.
Householder received more than $400,000 in personal benefits as a result of the payments made to Generation Now, “a 501©(4) entity secretly controlled by the lawmaker,” according to the complaint.
The four others arrested were Mathew Borges, a lobbyist who previously served as chair of the Ohio Republican Party; Jeffrey Longstreth, Householder’s longtime campaign and political strategist; Neil Clark, a lobbyist who owns and operates Grant Street Consultants and previously served as budget director for the Ohio Republican Caucus; and Juan Cespedes, a multi-client lobbyist.
U.S. Attorney David DeVillers described the scheme as "likely the largest bribery money laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people of the state of Ohio."
"Make no mistake, these allegations are bribery. Pure and simple," DeVillers said in a news conference according to CNN. "This was pay-to-play. I use the term pay-to-play because that's the term they've used as alleged in the affidavit."
Householder and his associates made incriminating statements about the activities in meetings with undercover agents.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine called on Householder to resign following his arrest.
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