Ohio Speaker Arrested in Bribery Case

Larry Householder, Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, is on the hot seat after being arrested as part of an investigation into a massive federal bribery case. After two Ohio-based nuclear power plants were part of a taxpayer-funded bailout, federal investigators opened an investigation that led to the arrest of Householder and four of his political associates. The US Attorney assigned to the case called it “likely the largest bribery and money-laundering scheme that’s ever been perpetrated against the people of the state of Ohio.”

Almost immediately, Ohio’s governor, Mike DeWine, called on his colleague to “resign immediately,” adding that DeWine believed it would be “impossible” for Householder to “be an effective legislative leader” in light of the charges leveled against him. DeWine and Householder are both members of the same political party, and other members of that party, including the state attorney general and the Senate president, have gone on the record saying Householder needs to resign. Leaders in the House called the allegations “shocking,” though other members of the Householder’s party did not quite add their voices to those calling for the Speaker to step away.

The case that is being built against Householder calls him one of the “driving forces” pushing the nuclear plants’ financial bailout. This rescue package added a surtax to all residents’ electricity bills, generating more than $150 million per year for the plants located in Cleveland and Toledo, respectively.

While this is not the first time, there have been political attempts made to financially assist the struggling plants, none ever passed in the Ohio legislature. That changed when Householder became Speaker. His plan, which gained enough support to pass, included subsidies for the plants, as well as other “renewable energy incentives.”

In making the bribery case against Householder, prosecutors allege that he is the principle behind a holdings group called “Generation Now.” According to investigators, that company has been receiving quarterly payments of $250,000 since March of 2017. Speaking about the allegations, US Attorney David DeVillers, said, “Make no mistake, Generation Now is Larry Householder…”

And that’s the foundation of the narrative against Householder, that he and his co-defendants traded massive payouts for favorable votes on the nuclear plant bailout. This story is developing, and Householder, as of this writing, has yet to respond. Meanwhile, the optics are very negative for the Speaker. Images have come out in the media of federal and local law enforcement raiding Householder’s property. The public denouncing top leaders in his party at the state level doesn’t leave much room for Householder to seek help from that sector. Nothing has been “proven” yet, so it will be interesting to see how the Householder camp responds.