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Larry Householder, the ex-Ohio House Speaker convicted of racketeering in a bribery scheme involving FirstEnergy Corp., has been indicted on 10 new felony counts, including misuse of campaign funds, ethics violations, and a theft charge that would prevent him from holding public office in Ohio again. This extends what was already the largest corruption case in state history and seeks to permanently bar Householder from public service in the state. Householder was sentenced to 20 years in prison for orchestrating a $60 million bribery scheme to pass a $1 billion bailout for two nuclear plants owned by a FirstEnergy subsidiary.

The state indictment alleges that Householder used campaign funds to pay for his criminal defense in his federal case and failed to disclose important information on ethics filings related to the bailout bill known as House Bill 6. The charges against him include theft in office, aggravated theft, telecommunications fraud, money laundering, and tampering with records. Householder served two terms as speaker and held county office, but these new charges could permanently bar him from working for the government in Ohio.

This action is part of a broader investigation that has seen other individuals connected to the bribery scheme indicted on various charges. Two fired FirstEnergy executives, ex-CEO Chuck Jones and Senior Vice President Michael Dowling, as well as Ohio’s former top utility regulator Sam Randazzo, were indicted last month on 27 counts combined. The investigation was led by the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission and has already led to convictions and guilty pleas from individuals involved in the scheme.

Lobbyist and former Ohio Republican Party chairman Matt Borges, as well as Householder’s political strategist Jeffrey Longstreth, were both indicted on racketeering charges in July 2020. Borges was convicted alongside Householder last summer and sentenced to five years in prison. Lobbyist Juan Cespedes and Neil Clark, another lobbyist, were involved in the scheme as well. Clark pleaded not guilty before passing away by suicide in March 2021.

The dark money group Generation Now, used to funnel FirstEnergy cash, pleaded guilty to a racketeering charge in February 2021. The group was accused of using the $60 million in illicit funds to influence elections, secure Householder’s election as speaker, pass the tainted energy bill, and prevent a repeal referendum from reaching the ballot. The investigation into the corruption case continues, with Householder now facing additional charges that could prevent him from ever holding public office in Ohio again.

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