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Ohio House speaker, 4 others arrested; facing federal racketeering charges

A conviction on the conspiracy to commit racketeering charge could carry with it a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — House Speaker Larry Householder and four other individuals are facing federal racketeering charges related to “a significant conspiracy” case tied to House Bill 6 and the $1 billion bailout it provided to help secure the future of two aging nuclear power plants in Ohio.

A conviction on the conspiracy to commit racketeering charge could carry with it a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors allege that from March 2017 to March 2020, Householder and others received millions of dollars in exchange for help in passing House Bill 6, a billion-dollar bailout that saved two failing Ohio nuclear power plants from closing.

Householder and his co-defendants are also accused working to “corruptly ensure” that HB 6 went into effect by defeating a ballot initiative that sought to overturn the legislation.

RELATED: What is HB6, the Ohio legislation that’s part of the case against Larry Householder?

The group charged is also alleged to have received approximately $60 million placed with Generation Now, a political operative group, placed there from an energy company and its affiliates during this three-year period.

The four other men charged alongside Householder are lobbyists or GOP operatives. All appeared via video conference in federal court Tuesday.

WATCH LIVE: Coming up at 2:30, Federal officials will hold a press conference after Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and four other people were arrested Tuesday in a $60 million federal bribery investigation https://bit.ly/3eQY1Zj

Posted by 10TV - WBNS on Tuesday, July 21, 2020

10 Investigates listened to the hearing.

Those who appeared were: Jeff Longstreth, Neil Clark, Matt Borges and Juan Cespedes. Longstreth has served as an advisor to Householder.

RELATED: Who are Larry Householder and others charged in alleged bribery scheme?

Prosecutors did not request that the men be held in federal custody but did demand that as a condition of their bond, they must turn in or not seek passport, must turn over any firearms they possess, must not have contact with co-defendants and must not travel outside the southern district of Ohio while the case is pending.

Governor Mike DeWine

“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.

"This is a sad day for Ohio."

RELATED: Who would be next in line for Ohio House Speaker?

House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes 

“This is a sad day for Ohio.

As Ohioans are grappling with a public health and economic crisis like we haven’t seen in generations, this is an unnecessary distraction from the very important business facing our citizens. Because of this, we demand the immediate resignation of Larry Householder as Speaker of the House and implore our Republican colleagues to announce a new leader for this body as soon as possible. We cannot let this situation distract us from the important work that needs to get done.

There's no enjoyment in today’s news which will no doubt lead to the further deterioration of the public’s trust in our institutions.”

Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted

"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 David Yost

"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."