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Attorney General Files Complaint Over Householder Using Campaign Funds for Legal Bills

Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder leaves the federal courthouse in Columbus July 21
Jay Laprete
Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder leaves the federal courthouse in Columbus July 21 after an initial hearing following charges against him and four others alleging a $60 million bribery scheme.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost says his office will file a complaint Friday over the former Ohio House speaker's payments of more than $900,000 in campaign contributions to attorneys to defend him in a federal racketeering case.

Yost in an interview says he believes the payments from Rep. Larry Householder's campaign committee violate the law.

Federal authorities allege Householder, a Perry County Republican and former House Speaker, was the central figure in a $60 million bribery scheme secretly funded by FirstEnergy Corp. to obtain a $1 billion bailout for two Ohio nuclear plants owned at the time by a FirstEnergy subsidiary.

Householder and four associates were arrested in July and charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Householder's longtime adviser Jeffrey Longstreth, former Ohio GOP chair Matt Borges, and lobbyists Neil Clark and Juan Cespedes pleaded not guilty. The 501(c)(4) organization Generation Now also faces charges.

In August, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose accused Householder of 162 violations of campaign finance laws stemming from the nuclear bailout law he worked to pass.

Householder was stripped of his speaker post in July, although he is running unopposed in the November election to retain his seat in the Ohio House of Representatives.

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