Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine withdrew his support for the 2019 Ohio nuclear bailout bill on Thursday after an associated bribery scandal was revealed.
Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder was arrested June 21 for his involvement in a $60 million bribery case directly related to the state’s $1 billion bailout of the Perry and Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plants. Although the governor reportedly still supports the bailout law itself, he told the Associated Press that “the process by which it was created stinks. It’s terrible. It’s not acceptable.”
DeWine called for Householder’s resignation the day he was arrested. At this time, there have been no allegations of corruption related to other bills passed by the Ohio legislature. (RELATED: Ohio House Speaker Arrested In $60 Million Bribery Case)
I am deeply concerned about the allegations of wrongdoing issued today by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Every American has the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) July 21, 2020
The bill was passed in July 2019, with some funds drawn from increased residential electricity rates. Those implicated reportedly received about $60 million through the 501(c)(4) organization “Generation Now” from an energy company and its affiliates in order to pass House Bill 6, which bailed out the two failing nuclear power plants.
Householder personally may have received “more than $400,000 in personal benefits,” including payments for his vacation house in Florida, credit card debt and funding for a personal lawsuit, per the report.
Also arrested were Householder’s campaign adviser Jeffrey Longstreth, lobbyist and former budget director for the Ohio Republican Caucus Neil Clark, former Ohio GOP chair Matthew Borges and Juan Cespedes.
The U.S Attorney’s office alleges they “conspired to violate the racketeering statute through honest services wire fraud, receipt of millions of dollars in bribes and money laundering.”
“When the corruption is alleged to reach some of the highest levels of our state government, the citizens of Ohio should be shocked and appalled,” FBI Cincinnati Special Agent in Charge Chris Hoffman said in the press release.