Ohio House did its job; now it’s time to release all names
A record-setting scandal in Ohio politics is being alleged by federal prosecutors — but half the players have not yet been identified. Buckeye State residents and all Americans worried about corruption in government deserve to get the rest of the story very soon.
Then-Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and a handful of associates were arrested last week, accused of involvement in a $60 million bribery scheme linked to ratepayer bailout of nuclear power plants.
Members of the Ohio House of Representatives did their job Thursday acting swiftly to remove Householder from his post. The vote was unanimous and bipartisan — the first in state history to expel a speaker from the job.
The Republican House Caucus also moved quickly in electing Householder’s replacement as Speaker. Members chose former state Supreme Court justice and current Rep. Bob Cupp from Lima to lead the Ohio House. The vote came following a private Republican caucus.
Householder and four associates were identified in a July 21 federal affidavit as allegedly taking part in a pay-to-play scheme involving corporate money secretly funneled to them for personal and political use in exchange for helping to pass House Bill 6 to financially bail out two Ohio nuclear plants. Householder was one of the driving forces behind the legislation, which included a fee to every electricity bill in the state and directed more than $150 million per year through 2026 to the plants near Cleveland and Toledo.
Householder, a Republican who represents a district just east of Columbus, pushed for approval of the bill providing for $150 million payments to aid the two ailing nuclear plants. Money for the bailout will come from surcharges on electricity customers’ bills.
In exchange for help getting the bill enacted, prosecutors say $60 million was paid to an organization called Generation Now, which is controlled by Householder.
Democrats on Wednesday introduced legislation, jointly sponsored by Valley Rep. Michael O’Brien, D-Warren, to repeal the nuclear bailout legislation.
Lawsuits already are being filed by taxpayers, including one this week in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court seeking compensation for all Ohio electricity consumers.
These are good first steps to making sure no one wrongly profits from utility ratepayers.
So many more questions need to be answered for the residents of Ohio.
But it takes two parties to engage in bribery, and this case is especially outrageous. If prosecutors are right, it appears Ohioans may have been bribed with their own money — in attempt to milk them for even more.
Identities of all those involved, including those who allegedly paid the bribes, must be revealed with a great sense of urgency. And the sooner warranted charges are filed against them, the better.