Federal prosecutors said former Ohio House speaker Larry Householder "acted as the quintessential mob boss" and asked a judge to sentence Householder, 64, to between 16 to 20 years in prison. The judge obliged and Householder received a 20-year term for heading a pay-to-play bribery scheme to bail out an energy company, reports the Wall Street Journal. Householder will appeal the conviction. He was convicted in federal court in March on racketeering conspiracy charges in connection with more than $60 million paid by FirstEnergy a scheme to pass a $1.3 billion bailout of nuclear and coal power plants.
FirstEnergy funneled the $60 million into Householder-connected groups classified as 501(c)(4) nonprofits, which meant they weren't required to disclose their donors. The scheme also helped him elect friendly GOP lawmakers. The bailout legislation was signed into law in 2019. “The whole issue of dark money and soliciting dark money presents a real crisis in our political system today and poses a real risk to companies,” said Bruce Freed of the Center for Political Accountability. “At this point, strong messages have to be sent that it is unacceptable.” A FirstEnergy spokeswoman said the company had accepted responsibility for its actions. Former GOP state chairman Matt Borges, 51, who was also convicted in March on racketeering conspiracy charges, is scheduled to be sentenced Friday.