Monday, May 24, 2004

Subpoenas issued in case
of Ohio House Speaker

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - A federal grand jury has issued subpoenas to companies that have done work for House Speaker Larry Householder as part of an investigation of his campaign practices, according to several newspapers.

The subpoenas come after the Republican from southern Ohio was targeted by an anonymous nine-page memo that alleged a scheme to embezzle campaign funds.

The memo surfaced in March. The FBI and Internal Revenue Service are investigating.

Householder denied the allegations in a private meeting with fellow House Republicans and dismissed them publicly as "innuendo, half-truths and outright lies."

Householder said in a statement Sunday that he had instructed his campaign staff to cooperate fully.

"I welcome the opportunity to put an end to all of the recent speculation," he said. "I believe this is the only way to put an end to the continuing speculation that is based on nothing more than the words of a detractor who won't show his or her face."

Sources told the newspapers that subpoenas have been issued to Householder's campaign committee, former Ohio Republican Party Executive Director Tom Whatman, and at least two vendors who have done work for the Ohio House Republican Campaign Committee.

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer was the first to report details about the subpoenas on Saturday.

Whatman was subpoenaed as an official with the group called Informed Citizens of Ohio, a campaign fund started by Householder that ran ads against Democratic candidates for the Ohio Supreme Court in 2002. The memo accused the fund of overpaying a vendor and said some money went to Householder.

Whatman is not mentioned in the memo. A message seeking comment was left at a Columbus telephone listing for a Tom Whatman.

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