COLUMBUS, Ohio — The arrest of Speaker Larry Householder has sent shockwaves across the Buckeye State.
Matt Borges avoided protesters and the media Tuesday after being accused by federal authorities of taking bribes in exchange for his role in getting House Bill 6 passed.
Borges is a lobbyist and his firm, 17 Consulting, represented the company that owns the Perry Nuclear Power Plant near Cleveland and the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant near Toledo. Both plants are owned by Energy Harbor, an electric utility company in Akron, formerly called FirstEnergy Solutions.
Once seen as a potential candidate for chairman of the Republican National Committee, Borges was recently appointed to the Board of Trustees at Columbus State University by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, and worked on a campaign for Attorney General Dave Yost back in 2010. In 2004, Borges was involved in another bribery scandal surrounding campaign contributions to then-Ohio Treasurer Joe Deters, who is currently the Hamilton County Prosecutor.
In the 82-page FBI affidavit, Borges is accused of bribing an FBI informant to get information on a referendum for House Bill 6. The complaint says he paid himself more than $350,000 from the money sent to Householder’s shadow organization.
Jeff Longstreth is Householder’s chief political advisor and the founder of Columbus political consulting firm JPL & Associates, which federal officials say worked on the campaigns of several Republican candidates who supported Householder for speaker. Longstreth’s firm allegedly received nearly $15 million from Generation Now, an organization he reportedly helped form, all for the purpose of blocking efforts to fight HB 6, and instead ensuring that it would pass.
He is described as Householder’s “implementer” in the complaint, which also says Longstreth received more than $5 million in the scheme, including $1 million he transferred to his brokerage account.
Lobbyist Neil Clark is another one of the men charged along with Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder in the alleged bribery scandal. The Ohio University graduate is the founder of Grant Street Consultants in Columbus.
Recently, Clark has been a lobbyist for Electronic Classrooms of Tomorrow, an online charter school company now being investigated by the FBI. Clark also served as budget director for the Ohio Republican Caucus.
Documents claim he’s one of Householders “closest advisors” and served as a his proxy to pass HB 6. Allegedly, Clark received at least $290,000 in the scheme.
Juan Cespedes is a Lorain native and co-founder of the Oxley group in Columbus. Cespedes is a registered lobbyist for Energy Harbor. Former Governor John Kasich appointed him to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and the Ohio Arts Council. According to an affidavit, Cespedes was a middleman in Speaker Householder’s bribery operation. He’s accused of helping to funnel $15 million into a 501(c)(4) or social welfare group, called “Generation Now,” to fund a media and ad campaign for HB 6. He was paid more than $800,000 for his work, according to the complaint.