Governor DeWine Calls for Householder to Resign Following Arrest

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Following the news conference by U.S. Attorney DeVillers in Columbus this afternoon announcing a criminal complaint against Speaker Larry Householder and others for an alleged $60 million bribery scheme, Governor Mike DeWine immediately called for Householder’s resignation.

“I am deeply concerned about the allegations of wrongdoing in the criminal complaint issued today by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.   Every American has the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.  Because of the nature of these charges, it will be impossible for Speaker Householder to effectively lead the Ohio House of Representatives; therefore, I am calling on Speaker Householder to resign immediately.”

Householder was arrested by agents with the FBI on July 21. Also taken into custody are four individuals described by law enforcement officials as “associates” of Householders. The are lobbyists Neil Clark, Juan Cespedes, and Matt Borges. Borges is a former GOP chair. Additionally, Householder’s political advisor, Jeff Longstreth was arrested.

Householder previously served from 2001 to 2004 and an investigation was underway then, but the case was closed previously after Householder left office. Householder has been back in the Ohio House of Representatives since 2016. Householder became Speaker of the House during a contentious bid for the position.

According to U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers, there were several points to the scheme Householder was allegedly involved in. DeVillers said racketeering, money laundering, bribery and more were involved in Householder’s scheme. The case comes from Generation Now, a 501C4 organizaton, which is not supposed to be involved in political campaigns, but according to investigators was doing just that. Another part was to advance Householder to be Speaker of the House and push legislation knowns as House Bill 6 into law. The bill involved a bailout for nuclear power plants and added a fee to the power bills of Ohioans. This reportedly benefited the power company previously known as First Energy Solutions, now known as Energy Harbor. Along with First Energy, money was reportedly laundered through Generation Now to promote Householder’s rise to power and secure HB6.

“This is by no means over,” said DeVillers during the press conference. DeVillers said the investigation is continuing.

Governor DeWine added after announcing his request for Householder to resign, “This is a sad day for Ohio.”

Additionally, Lt. Governor Jon Husted commented, “As a former House Speaker, it makes me incredibly sad. With the announcement of today’s criminal complaints, the Speaker can no longer effectively perform his duties and should resign. Ohio is in the midst of a pandemic response and economic downturn, and the institution of the House of Representatives must remain operational, and the integrity of the office and the institution must be restored.”

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost had stronger words, “Larry Householder sold out the people of Ohio in exchange for power and dirty money. The 81-page sworn affidavit filed today shows plainly he cannot be trusted to act in the public interest, or trusted with public authority. He is entitled to a presumption of innocence regarding the criminality of his acts, but he is entitled to no presumption of continuance in office. He should resign immediately. If he refuses, the House should eject him under Article II, section 6 of the Ohio Constitution.”