The Ohio House of Representatives has removed the portrait of former speaker Larry Householder in a show of repudiation of his alleged misdeeds. The portrait, which was displayed prominently in the House chamber, was taken down following a vote on Wednesday in which members of the chamber approved the removal.
The move was a rebuke of Householder, who was indicted by federal prosecutors in July on charges related to a $60 million bribery scheme. Householder, who served as speaker from 2019 to 2020, has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
In a statement, House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) said that Householder’s alleged misdeeds are “offensive to the Ohio House of Representatives, its members and its staff.” He added that “we cannot have a person with this type of alleged behavior represented in a place of honor.”
The resolution to remove the portrait, which was sponsored by Rep. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum), passed by a wide margin, with only two votes opposing it. The resolution also called for Householder’s expulsion from the chamber, which would require a two-thirds vote.
Householder’s removal is the latest in a series of actions taken by the chamber to distance itself from the former speaker. Earlier this month, the chamber voted to strip Householder of all his leadership positions and privileges.
The portrait’s removal is symbolic, but it is also a strong statement of the chamber’s condemnation of Householder’s alleged actions. The portrait, which had been prominently displayed in the House chamber since his speakership, has now been relegated to an archive where it will likely remain for the foreseeable future.
The resolution was a clear demonstration of the House’s repudiation of Householder, who was indicted on charges of racketeering, conspiracy, and money laundering. The charges stem from an alleged scheme in which Householder and four of his associates are accused of using bribery and extortion to secure passage of a $1.3 billion bailout for Ohio’s two nuclear plants.
The indictment of Householder has rocked the Ohio political landscape and has raised questions about the integrity of the state’s political system. While the removal of Householder’s portrait is a symbolic gesture, it is a powerful one that sends a strong message that the House of Representatives will not tolerate alleged criminal activity in its midst.