Rooting out corruption

As opening statements began in the trial against former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, R-Perry County, prosecutors were suggesting it might be the largest corruption case in Buckeye State history.

At issue is whether Householder was part of a scheme funded by FirstEnergy that helped him gain power, elect friends, pass a $1 billion bailout for nuclear plants and defeat a ballot effort to overturn the bill. FirstEnergy avoided prosecution by admitting it used dark money groups to fund the scheme. FirstEnergy also admitted it used some of the money for bribes.

Oddly, Householder and his attorneys may be more honest than they realize as their defense amounts to “Hey, this was just business as usual. Everybody else has always done it this way.” His attorneys claim the tactics at play are routinely employed by politicians of both parties.

They’re probably right.

The corrupting desire for power and influence has been the same since the beginning of politics. Law enforcement’s desire to root out such corruption must not stop at one case. The federal government has a chance to clarify the line between legal and illegal handling of “dark” money, and as they do, surely more such instances will come to light. Those cases, too, should be punished.


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