Photo: Andrew Welsh-Huggins, AP
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio lawmaker leading the charge to repeal a nuclear bailout bill was unsuccessfully pressured by the former House speaker to vote in favor of its passage, newly released records show.
In late May 2019, former House Speaker Larry Householder texted his fellow GOP colleague Rep. Dave Greenspan to ensure he had his vote for the bill that is now at the center of a $60 million federal bribery probe, according to a series of text messages released by the Ohio House on Thursday.
Federal prosecutors in July accused Householder and four others of shepherding energy company money for personal and political use as part of an effort to pass the legislation, then kill any attempt to repeal it at the polls. All five men have pleaded not guilty.
“I really need you to vote yes on HB6, it means a lot to me,” Householder wrote in the text messages released Thursday. “Can I count on you?”
The bill in question would send more than $1 billion to two Ohio nuclear plants near Cleveland and Toledo now owned by Energy Harbor, a former subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp.
It just so happened that Greenspan was sitting down for an interview with FBI agents when he received the text message from Householder, according to the criminal complaint, which identified Greenspan as “Representative 7.”
Greenspan, a Westlake Republican, responded no to Householder’s request, citing “significant challenges” with the bill.
Householder replied, “I just want