House Democratic lawmakers Reps. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown), Jeffrey A. Crossman (D-Parma) and Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) held a Statehouse press conference today to announce a resolution to remove Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) from office and to discuss other Democratic legislation that would root out corruption and begin to restore integrity to the Ohio House. After Democrats announced the press conference Tuesday, House Republicans rushed to introduce an expulsion resolution of their own.
“We’ve given Republicans months to get their house in order after assurances this would be addressed, but it took our action to force Republicans to stand up to do the right thing,” said Rep. Crossman, one of the resolution’s joint sponsors. “We need to send a message that corruption has no place in the Ohio General Assembly, and that alleged criminal misconduct as serious as this is unacceptable. We’re renewing our call to the Speaker to call a vote on this resolution and to begin to hold hearings on our other anti-corruption bills to root out this culture of corruption at our Statehouse once and for all.”
Householder and several close associates were arrested in July 2020 and subsequently indicted for their alleged role in a $60 million public bribery scheme, currently the largest open corruption investigation in any statehouse in the nation.
“Mr. Householder disgraced the House and abused his office by selling legislation to the highest bidder. His continued presence is a slap in the face to all Ohioans who trust that their elected officials are here at the Statehouse working for them. He abused that trust and we cannot wait any longer to remove him from this chamber. Democrats are urging the Speaker to call a vote and send a message that the People’s House is not for sale,” said Rep. Lepore-Hagan, the resolution’s other join sponsor. “It is time for us to stand up and be counted. I expect my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to do the right thing. It is time to begin cleaning up the Republican corruption that has polluted the Statehouse for far too long.”
Democrats also called for hearings Wednesday on a number of Democratic-sponsored anti-corruption bills which have been blocked by Republican Committee Chairs since their introduction earlier this year.
“Removing Rep. Householder from office is just the first step to rooting out the culture of corruption that has stained our state politics. We need to pass real, commonsense reforms to send a clear message that we work for you, the taxpayers, not to enrich ourselves or corporate special interests,” said Rep. Russo, who is sponsoring The Ohio Anti-Corruption Act, legislation to require the dark money groups like the ones implicated in the House Bill 6 scandal identify their contributors and disclose their spending.
Rep. Russo continued, “The criminal allegations involving the former Speaker and House Bill 6 demonstrate just how necessary and long-overdue serious campaign finance reform is. The Ohio Anti-Corruption Act will strengthen transparency and accountability so that dark money and corruption cannot subvert the will of the people who elected us to serve. Ohioans deserve better from their government, and this bill ensures the best interests of our constituents remain front and center.”
In addition to the Ohio Anti-Corruption Act, Democrats urged action on the Public Corruption Repayment Act, legislation sponsored by Reps. Lepore-Hagan and Crossman which would require members of the General Assembly to reimburse the state for any and all compensation received between the time they were indicted for a felony involving public corruption and their conviction. Neither anti-corruption measure has had a hearing in the House.
Reps. Lepore-Hagan and Crossman will file their resolution to expel Rep. Householder Wednesday afternoon.