Ohio House Speaker faces bribery charges, is removed from position

Ohio House Speaker faces bribery charges, is removed from position
© Ohio state House

Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R) was removed from his leadership position Thursday after he was indicted on federal bribery charges.

Householder, a political aide and three lobbyists were arrested last week in what U.S. Attorney David DeVillers described as "likely the largest bribery, money-laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people in the state of Ohio.”

The four men on Thursday were formally accused of receiving $60 million from FirstEnergy to pass a $1.3 billion bailout of two nuclear power plants. If convicted, each could face up to 20 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine, in addition to forfeiting the $60 million. 

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According to the complaint, more than $100,000 of the bribe was used to pay off Householder’s second home in Florida and $97,000 was directed to his campaign.

“Dark money is a breeding ground for corruption. This investigation continues,” DeVillers said in a statement.

On Thursday morning, the Ohio House of Representatives voted unanimously to remove Householder as Speaker, according to Cleveland.com.

Republicans in the legislature reportedly plan to hold a private vote to select Householder's replacement, and will choose  between two competing representatives. A unanimous public vote to make it official is expected later Thursday.