Ohio House speaker, four others arrested in $60 million bribery case: local media

Brendan O'Brien
,ReutersJuly 21, 2020

FILE PHOTO: Protesters against the state's extended stay-at-home order demonstrate in Columbus More

By Brendan O'Brien

(Reuters) - Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, a Republican, and four other men with ties to state politics were taken into custody on Tuesday in a $60 million federal racketeering case, local media reported.

The office of U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers for the Southern District of Ohio said in a statement he would announce charges related to a $60 million bribe to state officials and associates at 1:30 p.m. EST (1830 GMT).

Former Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges and longtime Householder adviser Jeff Longstreth were among those arrested, sources told the Columbus Dispatch newspaper, along with lobbyists Juan Cespedes and Neil Clark.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office said she could not confirm Householder and the other men were arrested.

FBI agents and local authorities were at Householder's farmhouse early Tuesday in Perry County, just east of Columbus, the state's capital city, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Householder's office was not immediately available for comment.

Householder served in the Ohio House from 1996 to 2004 and served as speaker from 2001 to 2003. Due to term limits, Householder left office in 2004 and spent the next 13 years in the private sector. He was elected again in 2017 and elected speaker last year.