The speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives and several others were arrested Tuesday morning as part of a federal public corruption case, multiple Ohio outlets reported.
The FBI arrived at House Speaker Larry Householder’s (R) farm in Glenford, Ohio Monday morning, and sometime after that took Householder into custody, the Cincinnati Enquirer and Columbus Dispatch reported, citing unnamed law enforcement sources.
Also arrested, according to the reports, were the state Republican party’s former chairman Matt Borges, lobbyists Neil Clark and Juana Cespedes, and an adviser to Householder, Jeff Longstreth. All five men are expected to appear via video before Magistrate Judge Stephanie Bowman at 1 p.m, the Toledo Blade reported.
The FBI told the newspaper that it was conducting a “court-authorized law enforcement activity” at Householder’s farm.
The arrests are reportedly connected to a planned press conference Tuesday afternoon featuring the FBI and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio.
A planning document for the press conference says law enforcement officials will discuss “a public corruption racketeering conspiracy involving $60 million.”
Househoulder was the House speaker from 2001 to 2004, when he left the post due to term limits. He was reelected to the statehouse in 2016 and reelected speaker in 2019.
Citing an unnamed source, the Toledo Blade reported that the federal investigation revolved around House legislation last year to bail out two nuclear power plants in the state.
“House Bill 6” was extremely controversial in- and out-of-state for propping up the aging plants while lowering statewide standards for renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Vox News’ David Roberts wrote at the time that HB6 was “the most counterproductive and corrupt piece of state energy legislation I can recall in all my time covering this stuff.”