Home Uncategorized Rep. Jay Edwards shocked to learn of Householder arrest, hasn’t been contacted by investigators

Rep. Jay Edwards shocked to learn of Householder arrest, hasn’t been contacted by investigators

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The state representative for Athens County and majority whip in the Ohio House of Representatives commented Friday on the arrest of House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford), and said he has not been contacted by investigators related to the case.

Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) said he was shocked to learn of the allegations against Householder. Edwards was elected majority whip for the Ohio House in 2019, putting him in House leadership alongside Householder.

“The allegations made this week were a total shock, a complete surprise,” Edwards wrote via text. “Members of House leadership, including myself, are talking with our legislative colleagues regarding next steps for the Ohio House.”

Householder and four others were arrested and charged Tuesday in an alleged $60 million racketeering conspiracy involving the funneling of energy company funds through Generation Now, a dark money group.

Some proceeds were allegedly used to back the campaigns of legislative candidates supportive of Householder’s run for speaker — and to personally enrich Householder, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

Edwards wrote he has not been contacted by any investigators related to the case.

House Bill 6, which federal investigators say was forged to enrich Householder and other conspirators, has come under bipartisan fire with calls for its repeal.

Signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine in July 2019, from 2021 until 2027, every Ohio electricity customer pays a monthly surcharge that ranges from 85 cents for residential customers to $2,400 for large industrial plants, according to Cleveland.com.

HB6, however, also cuts a decades-old ratepayer fee that cost energy customers an average of $4.74, according to charts provided during the committee hearings for the bill.

Edwards also said there may be some merit in repealing and replacing HB6 — which DeWine advocated for Thursday — as long as new legislation includes cutting the ratepayer fee, which would save Ohioans $2.3 billion over its lifetime, according to Edwards.

“With the financial burden we face due to coronavirus, and as someone representing a high poverty district, the last thing we want to do right now is raise electric bills,” Edwards wrote.

Edwards also said HB6 had “good elements,” like protecting union jobs and preserving a source of  “major carbon-free energy generation here in Ohio,” but would have to see a replacement bill before commenting on support.

HB6 uses a majority of the money generated from the surcharge to bail out two nuclear power plants operated in northern Ohio by FirstEnergy Solutions, now called Energy Harbor.

The FirstEnergy Solutions PAC gave Edwards $25,207 total over five years, according to campaign finance reports.

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