© 2021 WKSU
Public Radio News for Northeast Ohio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Government & Politics

Ohio House Votes to Expel Larry Householder

a photo of Larry Householder
John Minchillo
/
Associated Press
State rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) sits at the head of a legislative session as Speaker of the House, in Columbus, Ohio in this Oct. 30, 2019, file photo.

The Ohio House has voted to expel former House Speaker Larry Householder for his role in an alleged federal bribery scheme.

The vote was 75-21 to remove Householder. They needed a two-thirds majority or 75 of the House's 99 members to remove him.

The bipartisan vote Wednesday was only the second time in state history the Legislature cast ballots to expel a sitting member.

Householder was Speaker of the Ohio House when he was arrested in July 2020. He faces a charge of racketeering for his alleged role in a $61 million bribery scheme.

Federal prosecutors allege Akron-based FirstEnergy funneled millions of dollars to a 501(c)4 which was controlled by Householder. He then, according to the charges, used that money for personal and political gain. In return, federal prosecutors allege Householder pushed for passage of HB6, a nuclear bailout bill.

While the House was debating the resolution, Householder, who maintained his innocence during the hearing, said he had never taken a bribe or sold a piece of legislation.

“I have not, nor have I ever took a bribe or provided a bribe. I have not nor have I ever solicited a bribe. And I have not nor have I ever sold legislation, never, ever,” Householder said.

Householder, who ran unopposed and was reelected to his seat last November, added the motion to expel him was not the proper way to remove him from office. He instead said that impeachment was the proper method to remove him from office.

The Ohio Constitution allows members of the Ohio House to remove a fellow member if that person has engaged in disorderly conduct.

The last time a member of the Ohio House was expelled was in 1857 after Rep. John Slough, a Democrat, punched Rep. Darius Cadwell, a Republican, on the House floor. Householder used this case as an example matching the definition of "disorderly conduct" in criminal code. However, supporters of expulsion counter that the term in the Ohio Constitution is not defined.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Copyright 2021 WOSU 89.7 NPR News. To see more, visit WOSU 89.7 NPR News.