State Watch

Ohio House votes to expel former Speaker in bipartisan vote

The Ohio House on Wednesday voted to expel former Speaker Larry Householder (R) following his indictment in a federal bribery scheme, according to The Associated Press.

The GOP-led House voted to expel Householder in a 75-21 bipartisan vote, making it the first time since 1857 that a state lawmaker was removed from his seat, the AP noted. 

The House used a provision in the state Constitution that allows lawmakers to eject one of their own for disorderly conduct.

One Democrat and 20 Republicans voted against the expulsion.

GOP lawmakers Mark Frazier and Brian Stewart, who sponsored the legislation to remove Householder, urged their colleagues to "do the right thing" and vote to expel the former Speaker.

"This has been a distraction. This has been a stain on the institution and it is time for us to come together as one body," Frazier said in the AP report. "This institution is greater than any one man."

Householder, 62, and four other associates were arrested in July after being accused of running the largest federal bribery scheme in state history, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Householder, who has pleaded not guilty to the crimes, reasserted his innocence to his colleagues on the House floor on Tuesday. 

"I am not nor have I ever took a bribe or provided a bribe," Householder said in the Enquirer report. "I have not nor have I ever sold legislation, never, ever." 

Householder first left the House in 2004 after a federal investigation was conducted where he and top advisers were accused of money laundering and irregular campaign practices.  

If convicted, Householder could face up to 20 years in prison and be automatically removed from the House, the AP noted. 

The Hill has reached out to Householder for comment.