A former Republican speaker of the House of Representatives in the state of Ohio was found guilty by a federal jury on Thursday of racketeering conspiracy counts in connection with a scheme involving bribes totaling sixty million dollars.
Both former Speaker Larry Householder and former Ohio Republican Party Chair Mathew Borges, who were both convicted on Thursday, could face up to 20 years in prison for their roles in the scheme to accept bribes in exchange for ensuring the passage of a billion-dollar bailout for a nuclear energy company.
The scheme was orchestrated by former Speaker Householder. Former Ohio Republican Party Chair Borges was also convicted on Thursday.
“As presented by the trial team, Larry Householder illegally sold the statehouse, and thus he ultimately betrayed the great people of Ohio he was elected to serve,” said US Attorney Kenneth Parker. An counsel representing Householder named Steven Bradley expressed his dissatisfaction with the jury’s decision.
“We will take some time to discuss and evaluate our legal options moving forward and will most certainly pursue an appeal”
“Larry is looking forward to going home and spending time with his family after what has been an exhausting seven week trial.”
The news release did not name the nuclear energy company that was involved in the scheme; however, it did note that the utility company FirstEnergy Corp. had previously agreed to pay a $230 million penalty for “conspiring to bribe public officials and others” as part of a deferred prosecution settlement. This settlement was for “conspiring to bribe public officials and others.”
According to statements made by Jennifer Young, a manager for external communications at FirstEnergy Corp., “while it would be inappropriate to comment on the verdict, FirstEnergy has taken decisive actions over the past several years to strengthen our leadership team and ensure a culture of strong ethics, integrity, and accountability across the company.” Young made these statements to CNN.
Both Jeffrey Longstreth, Householder’s veteran campaign and political consultant, and Juan Cespedes, a lobbyist, have previously pled guilty to their involvement in the racketeering conspiracy. Juan Cespedes is currently doing time for his role in the racketeering conspiracy.
A Financial Lifeline Of One Billion Dollars
US lawyers from the southern district of Ohio outlined in their case that beginning in March of 2017, FirstEnergy began sending quarterly payments of $250,000 to Householder’s tax-exempt social welfare account called Generation Now.
After that, Householder’s group used that money to support the passage of House Bill 6, a $1 billion bailout that saved two nuclear power plants operated by FirstEnergy Corp., and to stop a ballot effort to overturn the law. Householder’s team also used that money to support the passage of House Bill 8, a $1 billion bailout that saved two nuclear power plants.
Householder’s campaign for speaker, the campaigns of other state House candidates who were expected to support him, and his team’s own pockets all received many millions of those cash. According to the authorities, Householder used more than half a million dollars of those monies to “pay off his credit card obligations, restore his Florida property, and settle a business litigation.”
According to the news release, Borges misused around 366,000 dollars for his own gain and used the remaining 15,000 dollars to bribe an Ohio Republican operative in order to obtain information on the amount of signatures collected on the ballot initiative opposing Bill 6. In July of 2020, Householder and several of his associates were taken into custody and charged with racketeering conspiracy.
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