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August 14, 2020

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Bob Cupp elected new speaker of Ohio House

Has several local ties; Columbus Grove HS graduate

State Representative Bob Cupp (R-Lima) was elected as the new Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives on July 30.

“I am deeply grateful to have earned the support of my fellow colleagues who have entrusted me with the position of Speaker of the House. It is a great privilege to lead this chamber, and I pledge to do so honorably, fairly and humbly,” Cupp said in remarks to the House.

“It is imperative to restore the public’s trust in our elected officials. The legislative branch of government must serve to enact laws in the interest of the people of Ohio, not to engage in activity shrouded in corruption.”

Cupp has served in all three branches of government at both the local and state levels: as an Allen County commissioner, a four-term state senator, an appeals court judge and a justice of the Ohio Supreme Court.

During his tenure in the Senate, he served two terms as President Pro Tempore, the Senate’s second-highest leadership post.

Cupp has also practiced law for more than 25 years and taught courses in leadership studies, judicial process, and state education policy at Ohio Northern University.

Cupp grew up on his family’s grain and livestock farm in Allen County, attending school in Columbus Grove. He and his wife, Libby,  have two grown sons and two grandchildren.

Larry Householder's indictment and outsting 
as Ohio House speaker: legally speaking

From WKYC studios, by Stephanie Haney

On Thursday, Ohio state Representative Larry Householder was unanimously voted out as Speaker of the House, within an hour of being indicted by a grand jury on a federal racketeering conspiracy charged tied to the alleged improper use of so-called "dark money."

“Dark money is a breeding ground for corruption," U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers said while announcing the formal charge against Householder and four others, and adding that "this investigation continues."

Dark money is money used to influence politics, when it’s spent by non-profit organizations that don’t have to reveal who their donors are.

Generation Now, the group at the center of Householder’s bribery scandal, claims to be the most common kind of these groups. It's registered as a 501(c)(4) organization formed to promote social welfare, just like the National Rifle Association and Planned Parenthood.

Legally speaking, groups like Generation Now can take in unlimited donations and spend that money on elections, without anyone outside of the organization ever knowing where that money came from.

Dark money is hard to trace, but there are limits to what a 501(c)(4) organization can do.

For starters, politics can’t be its main purpose, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The sort of unofficial rule here is less than half of its spending can go to elections.

Generation Now claims to exist solely to promote energy independence and economic development, but the Department of Justice says that’s not true.

The DOJ says Generation Now was more like Householder’s personal piggy bank.

It is not legal to use Dark money to hide bribes, for example by secretly passing money from companies to politicians, in exchange for passing laws in their favor. 

Householder is accused of using some of the more than $60 million allegedly paid into Generation Now by FirstEnergy Solutions, to settle a personal lawsuit, pay for a home in Florida and pay thousands in credit card debt, all in exchange for supporting the billion dollar bailout of two nuclear power plants.

If all of this is true, we’re not talking about dark money here. We’re talking about racketeering, and up to 20 years in prison for everyone involved.

Stephanie Haney is licensed to practice law in both Ohio and California.

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