Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The Ohio House Speaker and four others were charged in federal court with participating in a racketeering conspiracy

Dayton Daily News:
[The current House speaker] has led the GOP-controlled Ohio House since January 2019. He previously held the speaker’s gavel 2001 to 2004 but left due to term limits. He returned to the House in January 2017 and mounted a campaign to become the first lawmaker to recapture the speakership in nearly six decades.

The speaker, who one of the three most powerful politicians in Ohio, wields enormous influence over how the state spends more than $140 billion and can halt any piece of legislation.
[The defendants are] accused of funneling money from an unnamed power company into a corporation that then used those funds – more than $60 million – to help ensure the passage of House Bill 6, a billion-dollar law that included money to bail out two nuclear power plants in the state.
The Enquirer:
Householder oversaw the controversial, Republican-led bailout of the two nuclear plants, owned by FirstEnergy Solutions, of Akron. House Bill 6, signed by DeWine in July, authorized using ratepayer fees for the $1 billion bailout.

The fight to approve the money was long and costly, extending even after the bill was signed into law. An effort to overturn the bailout ultimately failed after it met fierce resistance from well-funded competition. One group was Generation Now, a 501(c)(4) "dark money" operation. The group hired blockers to stall signature collectors working for those opposed to the bailout.

The second group, Ohioans for Energy Security, paid for millions of dollars in advertisements, including ones that warned Ohioans that the Chinese would take over Ohio’s power grid if voters repealed the bailout.