'Sold the Statehouse': Jury convicts 2 well-known Ohio Republicans in $60 million racketeering case

'Sold the Statehouse': Jury convicts 2 well-known Ohio Republicans in $60 million racketeering case
Former Speaker for the Ohio House of Representatives Larry Householder, Image via Screengrab.

In Ohio, two well-known Republicans — Larry Householder, former speaker for the Ohio House of Representatives, and ex-Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges — have been facing federal corruption charges in connection with a $60 million bribery scheme. And on Thursday, March 9, a jury in Cincinnati found both of them guilty.

According to CBS News, the jury found Householder and Borges "guilty of conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise involving bribery and money laundering, after about 9.5 half hours of deliberations over two days."

After the verdict was handed down, Kenneth Parker — a federal prosecutor in the case — told reporters, "(Larry) Householder sold the Statehouse, and thus, he ultimately betrayed the people of the great state of Ohio he was elected to serve…. Through its verdict today, the jury reaffirmed that the illegal acts committed by both men will not be tolerated and that they should be held accountable."

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CBS News explains, "Prosecutors alleged that Householder orchestrated a scheme secretly funded by Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. to secure his power in the (Ohio State) Legislature, elect his allies — and then, to pass and defend a $1 billion nuclear power plant bailout benefiting the electric utility. They alleged that Borges, then a lobbyist, sought to bribe an operative for inside information on the referendum to overturn the bailout."

CBS News points out that FirstEnergy "admitted" to "using a network of dark money groups to fund the scheme and even bribing the state's top utility regulator, Sam Randazzo."

Randazzo, according to CBS News, "resigned as chair of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio after an FBI search of his home, but he has not been charged and denies wrongdoing."

The New York Times' April Rubin notes, "Previously, Jeffrey Longstreth, Mr. Householder's campaign and political strategist, and Juan Cespedes, a lobbyist, pleaded guilty to their roles in the racketeering."

READ MORE: 'Racketeering, bribery and money laundering': Ohio House votes to expel Republican ex-speaker facing federal charges

Read CBS News' full report at this link.

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