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Larry Householder Facing 162 Campaign Finance Violations Related To Nuclear Bailout

Former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder
Paul Vernon
Former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder

The Ohio Secretary of State is accusing fellow Republican and former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder of 162 violations of campaign finance laws stemming from the nuclear bailout law he worked to pass. The campaign finance violations are related to the felony criminal charges Householder faces in federal court.

Ohio Secetary of State Frank LaRose says he’s connected the dots, building on the work done by the FBI in its criminal complaint against Householder and four others, including former Ohio Republican Party chair Matt Boreges. Those reported violations have been turned over to the Ohio Elections Commission.

The allegations in this filing relate to not only HB6, the nuclear bailout law that the five pushed for, but also to the work to stop a voter referendum on the law. LaRose says Householder and his group established shell companies to conceal contributions, converted funds for personal use, and used threats and intimidation to keep people from signing petitions.

The filing also names several entities that were charged in the federal case, including dark money group Generation Now and "Company A," widely believed to be FirstEnergy.

Meanwhile, the group that ran the failed bailout repeal campaign has been fined by the Ohio Elections Commission. The now-defunct Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts faces a fine of more than $5,200 each day since missing the January 31 campaign finance deadline to file a report that reveals its donors. The fine could be reconsidered if the group files a report.

Householder was stripped of his speaker post in July, although he is running unopposed in the November election to retain his seat in the Ohio House of Representatives. 

A federal judge has scheduled a new hearing for Householder, who's charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering. Court filings show Householder struggled to find an attorney to represent him after his current lawyer said a conflict of interest prohibits his further involvement. Judge Timothy Black on Wednesday set Householder's hearing for September 3.

Borges, lobbyists Neil Clark and Juan Cespedes, and Householder adviser Jeff Longstreth all pleaded not guilty at a hearing earlier this month.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.