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Democratic lawmakers criticize Republican move to block HB 6 repeal, anti-corruption measure

December 16, 2020
Michael J. O'Brien News

Today, Reps. David Leland (D-Columbus), Michael O’Brien (D-Warren) and Kent Smith (D-Euclid) issued statements as House Republicans on the Select Committee on Energy Policy and Oversight voted to block separate Democratic proposals to repeal House Bill (HB) 6 and implement anti-corruption measures to protect taxpayer money as amendments to HB 798. HB 6 remains at the center of an alleged $60M public corruption and bribery scheme involving former Republican Speaker and state Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) and several close associates.

“House Bill 6 was the product of the largest bribery scandal in the history of the state of Ohio. So far, we have had five federal indictments, two guilty pleas, five energy executives that have been terminated and the top utility regulator in the state has resigned,” said Rep. Leland, the Ranking Democrat on the committee. “The only way we can show that Ohio is not for sale is to repeal HB 6—and Republican leadership is still the only thing keeping that from happening.”

“Failing to repeal House Bill 6 tells big corporations that it’s okay to buy off politicians in Ohio—it’s not. It’s unconscionable that Republicans continue to fight harder for this tainted legislation and their disgraced former speaker than they do for the taxpayers who are going to have to foot the bill for this corrupt legislation,” said Rep. O’Brien, who introduced the amendment to repeal HB 6. Republicans voted to block the measure.

House Democrats also moved to adopt an anti-corruption amendment, which would notably:

  • Add depreciation and costs related to bribery, money laundering or other actions leading to felony convictions to the list of expenses not considered “reasonable and prudent” in the annual audit and financial need assessment for nuclear facilities;
  • Ensure that the audit investigation by PUCO, auditors, and consultants must include all of the types of expenses including those not considered “reasonable or prudent.” Requires an itemization of all expenses in the audit report submitted to the General Assembly.

“I am extremely disappointed that after 10 committee meetings, repeal bills coming from both Democrats and Republicans, and a majority of the Representatives desiring to repeal HB 6, our efforts only ended up amounting to a six-month long charade. It certainly appears that Republican leadership never intended on repealing HB 6. The future will likely hold more guilty pleas and backroom deals, so I encourage good government Ohioans to maintain their activist anger and engagement as we try to correct this wrong in the next General Assembly,” said Rep. Smith, who introduced the anti-corruption amendment, which Republicans voted down.

After rejecting the Democratic amendments, Republican lawmakers voted to pass HB 798, sending it to the House floor for a full vote.