Justice at Last: Householder and Borges found guilty
What the Householder/Borges guilty verdict means for Ohioans, transparency in government
Finally. Good news has come to Ohio.
Last week, both former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and former chair of the Ohio Republican Party Matt Borges were found guilty of scheming against the people of Ohio in a racketeering conspiracy. Ohioans can rest easy knowing that, at long last, these two will be held accountable for the massive public corruption that was the whole House Bill 6 scandal from beginning to end.
This verdict has powerful implications for the rest of the country. Citizens United may have opened the floodgates of corporate cash, but that doesn’t mean that pay-to-play is legal or right. The trial revealed how essential basic disclosure is and the importance of being able to follow the money.
Make no mistake: Householder and Borges’ actions could have been prevented if only we had had better anti-corruption laws in place. About 20 years ago, FirstEnergy, the source of the $60 million that fueled the Householder Enterprise, employed the same tactics — give lots of money to a powerful Ohio politician and win passage of another pro-utility bill. Back then, the state legislature’s only response was to make it harder for the public to find out who wrote the bill.
It’s time to create greater transparency at the Statehouse by making the records of the Legislative Service Commission — the research and bill writing arm of the state legislature — public again.
Ohioans should not be forced to rely on the FBI to tell them when they are getting ripped off. We must improve accountability and strengthen existing laws designed to discourage bribery of our leaders. It is clear that obscuring the funders of political advertisements has serious consequences. The legislature needs to take action to shine a light on dark money to provide guardrails so that this never happens again.
We celebrate the powerful facing consequences for their corruption and greed. And moving forward, we begin to repair our broken campaign finance system so this never happens again.