One of Ohio’s “three most powerful lawmakers” was arrested Tuesday in a raid of his rural Glenford farm, reports NBC News.
House Speaker Larry Householder was taken into custody as part of a $60 million bribery investigation, as were adviser Jeffrey Longstreth, former Ohio GOP chair Matthew Borges, and high-profile lobbyists Neil Clark and Juan Cespedes.
The AP reports Householder, a Republican, was a “driving force” behind the $1 billion bailout of the state’s two nuclear power plants, which was funded in part by adding a new fee to all electricity bills.
Previous attempts to bail out the nuclear plants had stalled in the Legislature before Householder became speaker. Months after taking over in 2016, he rolled out a new plan to subsidize the plants and eliminate renewable energy incentives.
The proposal was approved a year ago despite opposition from many business leaders and the manufacturing industry. Generation Now, a group that successfully fought an effort to put a repeal of the bailout law on Ohio’s ballot, was charged as a corporation in the case.
A criminal complaint filed by the FBI says Generation Now received $60 million from an unidentified company over the past three years.
In exchange, Householder and the other defendants worked to pass the nuclear plant bailout and block attempts to overturn it.
Householder and the others used the money to preserve and expand his political power in Ohio, the complaint said. US Attorney David DeVillers described the ploy as “likely the largest bribery scheme ever perpetrated against the state of Ohio.”