Senior lawmakers charged in alleged bribery scheme

| Aug 27, 2020 | White Collar Crimes |

South Carolina residents may be aware that arrests were made on July 21 in connection with an investigation into what U.S. attorneys have called the largest money laundering and bribery scheme in Ohio’s history. The most significant individual facing criminal charges is Larry Householder, who is currently the speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives. The former chairman of the Ohio GOP, two political lobbyists and a political consultant were also taken into custody. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has called on Householder to resign.

Bailout prompts investigation

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio released few details about the nature of the charges that the individuals taken into custody will face, but it did reveal that a racketeering investigation lasted about a year and was launched when questions were raised about a $1 billion bailout of two nuclear power plants. It is alleged that as much as $60 million changed hands in what federal prosecutors have referred to as a straightforward quid pro quo arrangement. The bailout, which added a fee to all Ohio electric bills, will direct about $150 million each year for the next six years to the Toledo and Cleveland power plants.

Speaker pushes legislation through

Legislation to provide financial support to the nuclear power plants that had stalled in the Ohio legislature was passed within two months of Householder assuming the speakership despite strong opposition from the business community. This opposition grew even fiercer when it was revealed that Householder and several of his political supporters had received sizeable campaign contributions from a company with strong ties to the two plants. A previous investigation into Householder’s financial and campaign practices ended with no charges being filed.

Speaker pushes legislation through

The federal penalties for white-collar offenses like money laundering and bribery can be severe, but U.S. attorneys may reduce them significantly when defendants are open to a negotiated settlement that includes a guilty plea. If you find yourself facing serious charges and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an experienced criminal law attorney may seek a more lenient sentence by bringing up mitigating factors, such as genuine remorse and a desire to make restitution, during plea discussions.