Householder is the ‘Comeback Kid’ – Count him out of office at your own risk.

At first glance, the indictment of former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder on state charges may seem excessive.

At 64 years old, Householder is currently serving a 20-year sentence in federal prison for his significant involvement in the House Bill 6 scandal. This scandal revolved around the failed bailout of two financially struggling nuclear power plants owned by FirstEnergy Corp.

A jury in the U.S. District Court for Southern Ohio has found Householder, a Perry County Republican, guilty on federal charges related to the House Bill 6 scandal. However, it is important to note that these convictions do not legally prohibit Householder from seeking public office again, as stated by Ohio Attorney General David Yost’s office.

The Cuyahoga County grand jury recently filed a series of state charges against Householder, including allegations of theft in office. If convicted of theft in office in state court, Householder will be permanently disqualified from holding any public office or employment in Ohio, according to a statement by Yost.

Householder is currently appealing his federal conviction to the U.S. Court of Appeals (6th Circuit) in Cincinnati. If the appeals court were to release Householder from the Federal Correctional Institution in Columbiana County’s Elkton, he would be free to pursue political office without any practical limitations.

Even though he was arrested on federal charges in July 2020, Householder was easily re-elected to the General Assembly later that year in the 72nd Ohio House District, which included Perry and Coshocton counties and parts of Licking County. However, Householder was expelled from the House in mid-2021. If he is convicted of theft in office based on the new state indictment in Cuyahoga County, he will be permanently disqualified from holding public office in Ohio. Yost stated, “State crimes carry state penalties, and a conviction will ensure that there will be no more comebacks from the ‘Comeback Kid.'”

Note: I have rephrased the paragraph using active voice and a more conversational tone while maintaining the original information and quotes.

There is enough blame to go around, both politically and potentially legally.

House Bill 6 was passed by Ohio’s House and state Senate, both of which were controlled by Republicans. Interestingly, the bill received support from Democratic votes, ultimately leading to its passage. Republican Gov. Mike DeWine wasted no time and promptly signed HB 6 into law after it was approved by the General Assembly.

Householder became the speaker of the House due to the support of 26 out of 38 Democrats in the House. This fact challenges the notion that the HB 6 controversy is solely the responsibility of one political party.

Yost, a Columbus Republican, deserves credit for spearheading the state’s legal response to the HB 6 scandal.

Thomas Suddes claimed that certain Democrats were involved in House Bill 6.

The Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, under the leadership of Yost’s office, played a pivotal role in handling Householder’s Cuyahoga County indictment. Yost has taken proactive measures on various legal fronts, including civil and criminal courts, to ensure that those responsible for the HB 6 scandal are held accountable.

Fortunately, the situation is different for the state agencies responsible for monitoring the Statehouse and the lobbying practices that occur within it. Surprisingly, these agencies are dealing with limited resources due to the budget decisions made by the General Assembly. This is a clear example of underfunding a critical public service in Ohio.

The Office of Consumers’ Counsel is the go-to resource for residential utility consumers in rate cases at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. While the legislature has increased the counsel’s budget to $6.3 million this year, it pales in comparison to FirstEnergy’s reported annual earnings of approximately $1.1 billion in 2023. Considering this stark contrast, it is evident that FirstEnergy has a significant advantage when it comes to fielding lawyers in Columbus.

The Ohio Ethics Commission is responsible for overseeing a staggering number of elected officials and public employees in the state. With 18,700 elected officials and 590,000 public employees under its purview, the commission plays a crucial role in ensuring ethical conduct. This fiscal year, the commission has been allocated a budget of $2.8 million to carry out its responsibilities effectively.

The Joint Legislative Ethics Committee is also under scrutiny. Its primary objective is to monitor and regulate the actions of the 132 members of the General Assembly and the lobbyists at the Statehouse. This fiscal year, the committee has been allocated a budget of $876,000. Additionally, the Office of Inspector General, responsible for overseeing the state government as a whole, has received a budget of $2.8 million for this fiscal year.

In the current fiscal year, the state budget allocated a total of $12.8 million to the four agencies responsible for overseeing bureaucracy and maintaining ethical standards. This amount may seem insignificant when considering the overall general-revenue fund spending of $41.4 billion. It raises the question: does this allocation truly reflect the importance placed on policing public ethics?

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