Law State Ohio House Speaker resigns amid FBI investigation, denies wrongdoing By William Meyer Posted on April 16, 2018 5 min read 0 0 584 Ohio Statehouse. File photo via Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=221770 A report from The Cincinnati Enquirer states that federal officials are looking into Rosenberger’s frequent travel, as well as his questionable relationships with donors. Ohio Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger resigned last Thursday in the midst of an FBI investigation into his travel expenses. Initially, Rosenberger announced his intention to resign Tuesday, with a planned departure date of May 1. He said he was worried the investigation would take a significant amount of his time, infringing on his ability to perform his elected responsibilities. “Meanwhile, there are many important issues facing our state that deserve careful consideration and review, and Ohioans deserve elected leaders who are able to devote their full and undivided attention to these matters,” he said in a statement Tuesday. Fellow Republicans Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine were critical of his initial decision to delay his resignation. DeWine, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, urged Rosenberger to resign immediately if the allegations were true. “There’s a lot of important work that the Legislature needs to get done,” DeWine said. “The Speaker has acknowledged that his presence is a distraction. It is best if he left now, so that the work of the people is not inhibited.” Rep. Kirk Schuring will preside as the interim Ohio Speaker until Rosenberger’s successor is elected by the House. “Moving forward, my goal will be to facilitate the operations of this institution as smoothly and efficiently as possible,” Schuring said in a statement Tuesday. Brad Miller, Rosenberger’s press secretary and communications director, released a statement that reinforced Schuring’s comment, and added that Rosenberger’s immediate resignation was to resolve conflict in the statehouse. “After now having time to fully assess the responsibilities of the office of Speaker, address the operational aspects of the Ohio House, and resolve questions regarding who has the appropriate decision-making authority, Rep. Schuring felt it was in the best interest of the institution that Cliff Rosenberger resign effective immediately,” Miller said. A report from The Cincinnati Enquirer states that federal officials are looking into Rosenberger’s frequent travel, as well as his questionable relationships with donors. As Speaker, Rosenberger traveled often, and visited places such as England, France and Israel on official business. According to the report by The Cincinnati Enquirer, Rosenberger’s travel expenses were paid for by campaign donors and outside groups, and not his $100,798 salary. While he is legally able to finance work-related travel through such means, he is required to disclose the source of his funding. Additionally, these trips must be work-related, and lawmakers must not accept trips as gifts for legislation. Rosenberger also rented a luxury condo in Columbus from Ginni Ragan, a longtime GOP donor who has given $1.7 million to GOP campaigns. Around $47,000 went to Rosenberger’s campaign. She also indirectly funded his travel by sponsoring trips funded by outside groups. Rosenberger, who is unable to run for reelection because of term limits, has denied any wrongdoing and said all of his actions as speaker have been ethical and lawful. He told the Dayton Daily News he has retained a criminal lawyer as a precaution. The FBI has neither confirmed nor denied the existence of the investigation, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer.