Just about the time news reports started describing the latest $60 million federal racketeering conspiracy case, Republican Larry Householder was hauled away in handcuffs. Ohio’s Speaker of the House made an entire career out of thriving on chaos. He got a massive karmic dose of it Tuesday morning. Four of his cronies will be keeping him company behind bars.
A record breaking criminal conspiracy
Federal prosecutor David DeVillers described the criminal conspiracy as record breaking. “Householder’s Enterprise,” he declared, is “likely the largest bribery and money laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people of the state of Ohio.”
According to the feds, “The millions paid into the entity were akin to bags of cash. Unlike campaign or PAC contributions, they were not regulated, not reported, not subject to public scrutiny – and the enterprise freely spent the bribe payments to further the enterprise’s political interests and to enrich themselves.” The conspiracy was only thinly disguised.
The company which owns two bankrupt nuclear power plants, “Company A,” shelled out $60,886,835.86 in secret payments to “Generation Now,” over three years. The Generation Now controlled by Householder as part of the conspiracy “is unrelated to the Cincinnati-based workforce development nonprofit of the same name.” What they got in return was a “billion dollar bailout.”
All five were dragged off to jail
Also dragged off to jail as part of the conspiracy was Juan Cespedes, co-founder of The Oxley Group in Columbus. He’s “listed by the state as a lobbyist last year for Energy Harbor.” He carpooled to the precinct with Matthew Borges, former Ohio Republican Party chair. Consultant Neil Clark was along for the ride. He’s the founder of Grant Street Consultants and was called “one of the best connected lobbyists in Columbus.” Rounding out the quartet is Jeffrey Longstreth, an adviser to Householder.
During the course of the conspiracy probe, the Federal Bureau of Instigation secretly wired “dinners and meetings between undercover federal agents, Householder, and Clark.” They couldn’t help shooting their mouths off “about illegal activity and bribes.” To DeVillers, “this was bribery, plain and simple. This was a quid pro quo. This was pay to play.”
All five accused racketeers will appear by video in front of federal Magistrate Judge Stephanie Bowman in Cincinnati. Even with the conspiracy arrests, the investigation isn’t over. “We’re not done with this case,” DeVillers promises. “There are a lot of federal agents knocking on a lot of doors.”