Crossman, Schertzer canvass in Lima

LIMA — Two years have passed since federal prosecutors revealed that House Bill 6, the controversial nuclear bailout now at the center of Ohio’s largest public corruption scandal, was tied to an alleged $61 million bribery scheme to elect former House Speaker Larry Householder.

Yet no one has gone to prison for their alleged role in the scheme, state Rep. Jeff Crossman, the Democratic nominee for Ohio attorney general, told supporters Saturday during a canvassing stop in Lima.

“If you help me get elected then we will have accountability in this state,” Crossman said.

Householder, who was ousted from the House after winning his re-election campaign in 2021, is set to go on trial early next year on a federal corruption charge, while two lobbyists implicated in the scandal have pleaded guilty. Neither has been sentenced yet due to the pending criminal trials for Householder and others.

Attorney General Dave Yost, who is campaigning for re-election this year, filed a civil racketeering lawsuit in 2020 against Householder, First Energy and others to stop state subsidies from going to First Energy and freeze assets of a former utility regulator allegedly involved in the case.

But Crossman told supporters in Lima Saturday that he believes Yost could have done more to hold those involved accountable.

“Do an independent investigation,” Crossman said. “Share the findings with the people of Ohio. People need to understand what’s going on there, and they refuse to. So this whole thing where we have a scandal and the cover up and they hide it and we just pretend nothing’s wrong here, we move on—we’ve got to get past this stuff.

“We have got to hold people accountable or it’s going to continue to happen.”

Crossman, who has criticized Yost’s response to reports of a 10-year-old rape survivor traveling to Indiana for an abortion after Ohio’s six-week abortion ban took effect this summer, said he intends to dismiss an appeal filed by Yost to reverse a lower court order temporarily blocking enforcement of the law while a lawsuit filed by abortion providers proceeds.

“It’s so extreme,” Crossman said. “It’s one of the most extreme (abortion bans) in the country.”

Crossman was joined Saturday by Marion Mayor Scott Schertzer, the Democratic nominee for Ohio treasurer, who decried the “dismantling” of Ohio’s pension funds for public employees.

“That’s disheartening, because those five pension funds have helped build the middle class in this state,” Schertzer said, noting that his appointments to oversee the funds would “understand that their number one responsibility is to the retirees, to make sure that those retirees are getting exactly what they were promised when those five pension funds were created.”