Ohio lawmakers convicted of corruption would have to pay up under new state bill

Ohio lawmakers convicted of corruption would have to pay up under new state bill

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WOIO) - Ohio’s former Speaker of the House could be on the hook for more than his alleged crime under a new state bill.

Almost a month ago, Ohio House members unanimously voted to strip Larry Householder of his speaker role once a $60 million alleged “pay to play” scandal came to light.

Householder is still active at the Ohio statehouse.

Now he could have to pay restitution for his salary, paid by you -- the taxpayer -- if he’s convicted.

That’s under a new state bill that was just introduced.

19 Investigates found some lawmakers are pushing for more accountability at the statehouse.

“Republican or Democrat, if you’re facing public corruption allegations, you shouldn’t be serving in the House,” said State Representative Jeffrey Crossman (D- Parma).

Crossman made a motion to expel Householder from the House chamber back in late July after lawmakers removed him as Speaker.

He decided to take action when that motion failed.

“It’s unacceptable, we have to find ways to ensure we’re doing the business of the public, and that the public knows that we’re doing their business and we’re not there to cater to special interests,” Crossman said.

Crossman introduced the Public Corruption Restitution Act with another Democratic lawmaker.

He said Householder is due his day in court, but--

“Persons in Rep. Householder’s position would be encouraged to resign, otherwise they would have to reimburse the state of Ohio for the money, the benefits, everything that they’ve received during the time that they’ve been indicted, through the time of their conviction,” Crossman said.

House Bill 750 would also stop anyone elected while under felony indictment for public corruption from taking office.

Householder is still running -- unopposed -- for another term that starts in January.

If convicted, Crossman said Householder can no longer serve in the Ohio House of Representatives.

Crossman hopes he can find support for his bill across the aisle.

He said his goal is restoring your trust.

“It starts with ensuring that we’re passing laws that ensure public confidence in the ability of legislators to do what’s in the best interest of the people, not in the best interest of special interests,” Crossman said.

The Ohio House is not in session right now.

The new House Speaker would have to reconvene the session to address any pending bills.

Meanwhile, the Householder investigation continues.

We reached out to the Ohio House Republicans for a response to this bill and we have not heard back.

Some Republican lawmakers have released bills in response to the corruption investigation.

State Representative Gayle Manning (R- North Ridgeville) has introduced a bill that would add more transparency to campaign contributions.

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