Ohio House Speaker Arrested In Case Related To Nuclear Power Plant Bailout Law

Jul 21, 2020
Originally published on July 21, 2020 8:48 pm

House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) has been arrested in connection to a $60 million public corruption racketeering conspiracy case. Federal agents were at his farm in Perry County Tuesday morning.

(Read the complaint here.)

Sources have confirmed that former Ohio GOP Chairman Matt Borges was also arrested, along with Householder's adviser Jeff Longstreth. Veteran lobbyist Neil Clark was also arrested, according to sources.

It's believed the case is related to the controversial nuclear power plant bailout law that was passed last year. The law was challenged in an expensive campaign that included charges of racism. The effort to repeal it was equally bitter, with allegations of intimidation of signature gatherers.

The law took effect in October after a group that opposed it missed the deadline to collect signatures. In January, that group dropped their courtroom battle to stop the law from taking effect. There was dark money on both sides, and donors were never revealed.

The law sends $150 million a year to the Davis-Besse and Perry power plants, which were owned by FirstEnergy Solutions. That company, which had been a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corporation when it was first created but was no longer related to FirstEnergy Corporation, emerged from bankruptcy protection earlier this year and is now known as Energy Harbor.

FirstEnergy Solutions had said it would decommission its power plants starting this year if it didn't get some financial relief from the state.

It's not the first time in recent memory an Ohio House Speaker has been under FBI scrutiny. Republican former Speaker Cliff Rosenberger was investigated related to payday loan legislation, and his home and office were raided. He resigned in April 2018, saying a statement his actions have been both ethical and lawful. No charges were filed.

Householder himself has also been under the FBI's microscope in the past. In 2006, there were no charges from an FBI investigation into allegations of bribery and corruption against Householder and some aides. And Householder did have to return thousands of dollars in improper county Republican party donations as he was building support for his run for Speaker in 2018.

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