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Reps. Crossman, Blair Introduce Public Corruption Restitution Act

August 18, 2020
Jeffrey A. Crossman News

COLUMBUS — State Reps. Jeffrey A. Crossman (D-Parma) and Gil Blair (D-Weathersfield) today introduced a bill that would require state lawmakers to reimburse the state for any compensation received following a conviction for public corruption felonies. The bill would also prohibit anyone elected while under felony indictment for public corruption from taking their seat in the General Assembly.

“We need to make every effort to restore the public’s trust in the legislature now that allegations of corruption have been revealed from the former Speaker’s office. Taxpayers should not have to foot the bill to pay salary and benefits to members that are convicted of public corruption related felonies,” said Rep. Crossman.

“It’s a disgrace that our Republican colleagues are forcing taxpayers to pay the former speaker his salary and benefits given the conduct that has been laid out. While I somewhat understand the concern about only having ‘one bite at that apple’ in expelling him from the chamber, it’s pretty clear we have the ability to solve that issue legislatively. It is evident that Democratic members have the will to clean up the culture of corruption that the Republicans have fostered for years now, and it’s time that they join us in the effort to clean house.”

Crossman and Blair believe this legislation became necessary the moment Republicans refused to expel Householder on the day they selected state Rep. Bob Cupp (R-Lima) to become the new Speaker of the House. Prior to selecting Cupp on July 30, Crossman stood up and made a motion on the floor to expel the now disgraced Republican from the Ohio House. All Democrats supported the motion, while the majority of Republicans opposed it, allowing Householder to remain a member of the chamber. 

“Those convicted of public corruption should have to repay Ohio taxpayers for any salary or benefits they received between the time they were charged and convicted,” said Rep. Blair. “Everyone is entitled to their day in court, but we should encourage those engaged in corruption to leave as quickly as possible.”

The legislation also contains provisions that would prevent an elected representative or state senator from being sworn into their seat after an election if the member is currently under indictment and their criminal case for the felonies is unresolved. It would require the elected member to forego the seat, and it would require another member appointed, if the elected member cannot be sworn into their seat within three months after the date they are supposed to be sworn in.