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The Power Grab: It’s A Setup

The Power Grab - red with handshake and the Ohio Statehouse - WOSU Public Media and the NPR Network

From WOSU Public Media, this is The Power Grab, how dark money and dirty politics led to the biggest bribery scandal in Ohio history.

Federal investigators were tracking the millions of dollars spent to pass the nuclear bailout, House Bill 6, and beat back the effort to overturn it. They dug and subpoenaed records behind the scenes.

Meanwhile, undercover agents tapped phones and covertly recorded dinners to gather evidence. Evidence that would show this conspiracy crossed the line from political maneuvering to criminal racketeering.

Lobbyist Neil Clark was the lynchpin. His secretly recorded statements fill the 80-page affidavit the feds issued in 2020.

Clark was already paranoid that he was on the FBI’s radar. He was even suspicious that his new clients who claimed to be hotel developers were actually FBI and he was right.

The Columbus lobbyist from humble beginnings had made it far in Ohio politics. He was a fierce competitor and prided himself on going scorched earth for a cause. He left nothing on the table and hated to lose. He didn’t care if he believed in the cause or not.

That made him the perfect partner for Larry Householder.

Renee Fox is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News.