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Democrats want investigation into DeWine, Husted

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(The Center Square) – Ohio Democratic lawmakers want the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Republican Gov. Mike DeWine and Republican Lt. Gov. Jon Husted after news reports questioned the administration’s actions after the House Bill 6 scandal came to light.

At a Thursday news conference, House Minority Leader Allison Russo, D-Upper Arlington, said the suggestion is that the administration did nothing when possibly criminal activity came to light.

Russo based her comments on recent news reports and Attorney General Dave Yost’s recent announcement of indictments of former Public Utilities of Ohio Chairman Sam Randazzo and two former FirstEnergy executives on nearly 30 state felony charges.

“Recent reports seem to suggest an administrative culture that willingly ignored potential criminal activity within the administration itself, or within proximity to it,” Russo and Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, wrote in a letter to U.S. Attorney Kenneth Parker. “Though the AG’s efforts are laudable, we believe the office does not possess the capacity to detach itself from the political realities of Ohio’s control of state government. The latest news reports highlight additional issues within government that only your office in its objective position and resources could investigate.”

DeWine spokesperson Dan Tierney said the DOJ already investigated and got indictments four years ago no person from DeWine’s or Husted’s offices were named as a target of the investigation.

“The U.S. Department of Justice announced its indictments in the House Bill 6 case in the summer of 2020, nearly four years ago. Those who organized this press conference and wrote this press release must think their readers have amnesia or willful ignorance to think that over the course of four years the USDOJ would not conduct a thorough investigation into the HB 6 scandal,” Tierney said in a statement. “To suggest they did not, like the Ohio Democrats suggested today, is disrespectful to the U.S. Department of Justice, it’s disrespectful to the U.S. attorney and his office, and it is disrespectful to the law enforcement professionals who have spent years working hard to secure convictions for those who engaged in public corruption in Ohio. No person from the Governor’s Office nor the Lt. Governor’s office has ever been named or suggested to be a target of these law enforcement investigations. The Democrats’ innuendo is not supported by the facts of the case.”

Both Russo and Antonio expressed frustration over the administration’s failure to endorse and the Republican-majority General Assembly’s failure to pass legislation to repeal House Bill 6 completely.

“As elected officials, we have a duty to act in the best interest of Ohioans, and that includes enacting legislation to reestablish integrity in our Legislature,” Antonio said. “The Republican-led Legislature failed Ohioans when House Bill 6 was passed and the Republican majority continues to fail Ohioans by not taking action to fully repeal House Bill 6, protect Ohio consumers and end the corruption tax.”

The billion-dollar bailout of the state’s nuclear energy companies led to the removal of former House Speaker Larry Householder, who was convicted of federal racketeering charges and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

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