COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) — Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and four associates have been arrested for racketeering in what the FBI is calling the largest bribery and money laundering scheme in state history.
WSYX/WTTE reported that Householder, 61, was arrested along with Neil Clark, Matt Borges (former Ohio GOP Chair), and Juan Cespedes. All men are lobbyists.
U.S. Attorney David DeVillers said the conspiracy was to pass and maintain a $1.5 billion bailout in return for $61 million in “dark money” that was used for various things. DeVillers said the money was used to line the pockets of those involved, to build a power base for Householder, and to further the conspiracy. He said Householder got at least $500,000 for his personal use.
DeVillers this was bribery, it was quid pro quo, it was pay to play.
DeViller said during a news conference Tuesday that “Company A” provided the money through Generation Now, which has also been charged. Generation Now is a 501 (c)(4), which is supposed to exclusively provide social programs.
DeVillers said Generation Now provided no social programs. He said unlike a PAC or Super Pac, a 501 (c)(4) does not have to disclose its donors. He said they are also not supposed to support or fund a candidate, in which it did in this case.
DeVillers said there were no donors for Generation Now and all $61 million was donated by “Company A.” Sometimes these donations were made directly and sometimes they were made through other sources.
The goal of “Company A” was to pass House Bill 6, maintain it, and not have it fall to a petition, DeVillers said. He said the first thing they had to do was build “Team Householder.”
At this time, Householder was not yet Speaker of the House and millions of dollars were filtered through “Company A” and Generation Now to numerous different enterprises controlled by members of the conspiracy.
According to DeVillers, “Team Householder” was made up of 21 candidates who were running in 2018. He said millions of dollars went to these candidates and to attach their opposition to get them elected.
DeVillers said all of the candidates on “Team Householder” who were funded by Generation Now all voted for Householder to be speaker of the House.
Householder was elected to lead the Ohio House for the second time in a controversial vote.
After the press conference, Gov. Mike DeWine called for Householder’s resignation….
(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Following the news conference by U.S. Attorney DeVillers in Columbus this afternoon announcing a criminal complaint against Speaker Larry Householder and others for an alleged $60 million bribery scheme, Governor Mike DeWine today issued the following statement.
“I am deeply concerned about the allegations of wrongdoing in the issued today by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Every American has the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Because of the nature of these charges, it will be impossible for Speaker Householder to effectively lead the Ohio House of Representatives; therefore, I am calling on Speaker Householder to resign immediately.”
“This is a sad day for Ohio.”
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, who served as 99th Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives from 2005 – 2009, echoed the Governor’s thoughts….
“As a former House Speaker, it makes me incredibly sad. With the announcement of today’s criminal complaints, the Speaker can no longer effectively perform his duties and should resign. Ohio is in the midst of a pandemic response and economic downturn, and the institution of the House of Representatives must remain operational, and the integrity of the office and the institution must be restored.”