OHIO FBI raids house, storage unit of ex-House speaker
Federal agents searched former Republican Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger’s southwest Ohio home and a nearby storage unit Wednesday, apparently part of an investigation into the money behind his international travel and lavish lifestyle while serving as one of the state’s most powerful politicians.
FBI spokesman Todd Lindgren confirmed that the agency was “conducting law-enforcement activities” in that area. They visited his home on State Route 350 in Clarksville and a storage unit in Wilmington.
Rosenberger’s lawyer, David Axelrod, said his client was cooperating with authorities, reiterating the former lawmaker’s position that he has “acted lawfully and ethically.”
“We previously offered to provide the information sought today by warrant, and today voluntarily provided additional information not covered by the warrant,” Axelrod said. “Speaker Rosenberger has also complied with a requirement to file legal disclosure forms regarding gifts, meals and travel.”
Rosenberger, 37, resigned from the House last month after saying he was aware the FBI was asking questions about his activities and had protectively hired Axelrod, a criminal-defense attorney. While speaker, Rosenberger took trips, sometimes with lobbyists present, to Europe, Israel, Iceland and various U.S. cities and rented a luxury Columbus condo from a wealthy GOP donor.
The FBI probe has clouded efforts to elect Rosenberger’s replacement in the House, which is unable to pass any new laws until the issue is resolved.
House Finance Chairman Ryan Smith, of Gallia County, told reporters that he believes he has the votes to win, but that his chief rival and his allies are using “despicable” tactics to sabotage the vote.