Ohio House Speaker
arrested in $60 million
bribery case fraud
CINCINNATI – Federal officials arrested Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and four others Tuesday as part of a $60 million racketeering and bribery investigation that prosecutors describe as one of the largest public corruption cases in Ohio history.
All of the charges are tied to what federal prosecutors describe as a criminal enterprise dedicated to securing a bailout for two nuclear power plants in northern Ohio, which is expected to cost the state’s utility ratepayers $1 billion.
A criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday describes the effort as “Householder’s Enterprise” and states that he and his associates sought to expand their political power, enrich themselves and conceal their criminal conspiracy.
“This is likely the largest bribery, money laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people of the state of Ohio,” said U.S. Attorney David DeVillers, whose office will lead the prosecution of the case. “This was bribery, plain and simple. This was a quid pro quo. This was pay to play.”
Also charged Tuesday were four lobbyists and Republican operatives:
- Neil Clark, founder of Grant Street Consultants and once called by USA Today “one of the best connected lobbyists in Columbus”;
- Matthew Borges, former Ohio Republican Party chair and consultant;
- Juan Cespedes, co-founder of The Oxley Group in Columbus;
- Jeffrey Longstreth, adviser to Householder;
- Generation Now, a nonprofit that federal prosecutors link to Longstreth and Householder, also faces racketeering charges.