COLUMBUS, Ohio — U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio David DeVillers and Chris Hoffman, FBI, Special Agent in Charge, unveiled the case against Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and four others at a presser Tuesday afternoon, in what DeVillers described as "probably the largest bribery case ever in Ohio."
Charging documents claim the defendants received more than $60 million to pass a billion-dollar nuclear plant bailout. Those funds were paid to 501(c)(4) Generation Now, a political operative group.
"Make no mistake, Generation Now is Larry Householder," DeVillers said.
According to the complaint, that money was used to promote Householder, pass House Bill 6, and defeat a ballot initiative to overturn the legislation.
House Bill 6 bailed out Ohio's two fledgling nuclear power plants: Davis-Besse near Toledo and the Perry plant near Cleveland.
Since the news broke, leaders across the state have spoken out about the allegations. Here's a look at what they had to say:
OHIO GOV. MIKE DEWINE
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine released this statement on Twitter Tuesday, calling on Householder's resignation:
"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.
Because of the nature of these charges, it will be impossible for Speaker Householder to effectively lead the Ohio House of Representatives; therefore, I am calling on Speaker Householder to resign immediately. This is a sad day for Ohio."
OHIO AG DAVID YOST
Ohio's Attorney General, David Yost, also called for Householder's resignation on Tuesday, calling him "unfit to wield the Speaker's gavel."
"The presumption of innocence applies only to criminal charges, and (Larry Householder) is entitled to it. But the federal affidavit filed today — backed up with wiretaps! — makes clear that Householder is unfit to wield the Speaker’s gavel. He needs to resign now."
LT. GOV. JON HUSTED
Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted, who served as 99th Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives from 2005 – 2009, released the following statement regarding the criminal complaint against Speaker Larry Householder:
"As a former House Speaker, it makes me incredibly sad. With the announcement of today’s criminal complaints, the Speaker can no longer effectively perform his duties and should resign.
Ohio is in the midst of a pandemic response and economic downturn, and the institution of the House of Representatives must remain operational, and the integrity of the office and the institution must be restored.”
REP. MARCY KAPTUR - 9TH DISTRICT
Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio said Householder's arrest "undermines public confidence." She tweeted this one Tuesday:
"A lot to be learned in coming days about the latest apparent pay-to-play scheme in the OH State House. The arrest of the Speaker and the former Chair of the Ohio GOP undermines public confidence & underscores the corrosive impact money has on our politics."
Leadership with FirstEnergy Corp., the company that owns the Davis-Besse plant, released this statement in regard to the investigation:
"This afternoon, FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) received subpoenas in connection with the investigation surrounding Ohio House Bill 6. We are reviewing the details of the investigation and we intend to fully cooperate."
This story is developing. We will continue to keep you updated.