by J.D. Davidson
A key strategist for the former Ohio speaker of the house pleaded guilty in federal court as part of what the U.S. government calls a racketeering conspiracy involving a billion-dollar nuclear bailout.
Jeffrey Longstreth, 44, was a longtime campaign and political strategist for State Rep. Larry Householder, R-Glenford, the former House speaker who faces bribery and racketeering charges. Juan Cespedes, 41 of Columbus, a lobbyist the U.S. attorney says was hired by an energy company to funnel money to Householder’s enterprise, also pleaded guilty.
They are two of the five, including Householder, indicted by a federal grand jury in July.
According to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office, the conspiracy involves more than $60 million paid to a 501-C-4 entity to pass and uphold a billion-dollar nuclear plant bailout.
The charging documents say Householder, Matthew Borges, Clark, Longstreth and Cespesdes conspired to launder millions of dollars in bribes through the entity Generation Now. Court documents show the enterprise received millions of dollars in exchange for Householder and the group’s help in passing House Bill 6 that saved two Ohio nuclear power plants from closing.
In his plea, Longstreth admitted to organizing Generation Now for Householder, knowing it would be used to receive bribe money to further Householder’s bid for speaker of the house. Longstreth managed Generation Now bank accounts, and he said he concealed that the energy company was the source of the funding.
Cespesdes admitted he orchestrated payments to Generation Now, and he knew the payments were meant to help Householder politically in return for help in passing HB6.
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J.D. Davidson is an editor for The Center Square. An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.
Photo “Ohio Nuclear Plant” by FirstEnergy Corp. CC BY-ND 2.0.