House Democratic lawmakers Reps. Jeffrey A. Crossman (D-Parma) and Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today testified before the House Rules and Reference Committee on their resolution to expel disgraced former Republican Speaker Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) from the Ohio House for his alleged role in a $60 million public bribery and corruption scheme to pass and prevent a referendum on a billion-dollar corporate bailout in 2019.
“For several months, we have received assurances that the majority caucus would address this issue and there was little to no action until Rep. Lepore-Hagan and I announced the introduction of HR 70. I am encouraged by the response by members on both sides of the aisle and we urge this committee to move this question to the floor without any additional delay,” said Rep. Crossman. “This is just the first step in finally ending what appears to be a “pay to play” culture at the Ohio Statehouse. We need to finally and decisively address corruption with meaningful reforms such as HB 306 and our HB 214, neither of which have received hearings. We invite our Republican colleagues to join us in this effort, as they have in this expulsion effort, to help restore integrity to the Ohio House.”
Householder and several close associates have been indicted for the involvement in what has been described as the largest public bribery scheme in Ohio history. The active criminal case stands as the largest open corruption investigation in any statehouse in the nation.
“I don’t have to be a lawyer to know that an FBI indictment makes this institution look bad. I don’t need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he’s guilty to know that my constituents don’t want him earning a taxpayer funded salary. Serving in the House is not a right, it is a privilege. I was elected to do the people’s work and Ohioans want us to expel him, and for good reasons. Service in this Chamber is a privilege he has clearly abused and no longer deserves. I’m listening to my fellow Ohioans in calling for his ouster,” said Rep. Lepore-Hagan. “By passing HR 70 and removing these vestiges of impropriety and criminality from the Ohio House Chamber, we are fulfilling our moral, legal, and ethical obligations to defend the Constitution, protect the integrity of the General Assembly, and serve the best interests of our constituents.”
In addition, Reps. Crossman and Lepore-Hagan today renewed calls for hearings on Democratic-sponsored anti-corruption bills which have been blocked by Republican leaders from having hearings, including:
- The Ohio Anti-Corruption Act, which would require dark money groups like the ones implicated in the House Bill 6 scandal to identify their contributors and disclose their spending,
- And 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.