COLUMBUS — Reaction to the criminal complaint filed against Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder is coming in from the statehouse.
Householder and four others are allegedly involved in a $60 million bribery scheme that’s in connection with FirstEnergy and their attempts to bribe lawmakers to bail out the company’s two nuclear power plants on Lake Erie.
Gov. Mike DeWine on Tuesday issued a statement.
“I am deeply concerned about the allegations of wrongdoing in the criminal complaint 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,” DeWine stated.
The Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party also called for Householder’s resignation.
“There is no right to hold public office. This is a privilege extended by the people of Ohio to officeholders. It’s a higher calling and requires a higher level of responsibility. That’s why I’m calling on Larry Householder to step down as Speaker of the House and resign as a legislator,” said Jane Timken.
Similar statements were issued by Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, Ohio Attorney Gen. Dave Yost and Ohio Auditor Keith Faber, of Celina.
State Rep. Craig Riedel (R), of Defiance, issued a statement Wednesday.
“Yesterday was truly a sad day for the great state of Ohio! House Speaker Larry Householder was charged with crimes involving money laundering and racketeering. Every American is presumed innocent until proven guilty but it seems implausible at this point that the Speaker will be able to lead the House of Representatives any further. I believe it is in Ohio’s best interest that he resign immediately! God bless Ohio!” Riedel stated.
State Rep. Bob Cupp (R), of Lima, a former Ohio Supreme Court Justice, did not call for Householder’s resignation.
“I think it’s safe to say that the charges in the federal court case are deeply disturbing. I was surprised — shocked, actually to hear about the arrest and the charges. This is unprecedented in modern times, unfortunately, unprecedented. So at this point, I think most members of the House are still sorting out the available information to try to make some sense of it and the best path forward,” Cupp said.
Likewise, Matt Huffman, (R), a state senator from Lima, who had also served in the Ohio House, but not under Householder, said he was shocked by the allegations but fell short of directly recommending Householder resign.
“Obviously, the facts need to be there to support that kind of thing. The affidavit, of course, is a sworn statement and as those facts are proven, you know, certainly that’s appropriate. But frankly, being over in the other body, we typically try to let our leadership speak solely for the Senate. President (Larry) Obhof made a statement about that. So I think I’m just gonna leave it at that. Let’s see what the facts are. But it’s extraordinarily disturbing,” Huffman said.
Obhof (R) released a statement Tuesday calling on his counterpart in the House to resign.
“The seriousness and gravity of the allegations cast a dark shadow over the People’s House. It is clear that he cannot continue to lead the Ohio House of Representatives. He should resign,” Obhof stated.
State Sen. Rob McColley (R), of Napoleon, also weighed in on the charges.
“I am incredibly disgusted and disappointed by the charges against Representative Householder. Serving in the legislature requires that we must always maintain the integrity of the institution and the trust of the public. Although Representative Householder is entitled to the presumption of innocence, the nature of the allegations demand that he resign immediately,” McColley said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.