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Extortion At The Statehouse?

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Ohio House
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Ohio Senate president Kirk Schuring talks with then-Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger.

In this week's Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU Public Media, Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss the allegations of extortion against former Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger.

Listen to Snollygoster on the WOSU Public Media mobile app, on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. And make sure to leave a rating and review!

In this week's episode:
Search And Seizure 

Documents released on Monday reveal details on the FBI investigation into former Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger. Rosenberger and three others from the payday lending industry are named in the federal search warrant seeking evidence of bribery and kickbacks.

No charges have yet been filed, but the FBI alleges they're investigating conspiracy to commit extortion, attempt to commit extortion and extortion. In particular, Rosenberger is being scrutinized for travel he took with payday lending lobbyists, which he says were lawful. After reports emerged in April about the FBI probe, Rosenberger lawyered up and then stepped down.

Issue 1

Ohio voters will see only one ballot issue this November. Issue 1 would reclassify low-level felony charges for possession of any drug, including fentanyl and heroin, to misdemeanors carrying zero jail time.

The language on the ballot will read, “To reduce penalties for crimes of obtaining, possessing and using illegal drugs.” Advocates say that the wording will make educating voters a challenge because it doesn't mention an increased emphasis on drug treatment.

Many prosecutors and Ohio's top judge, Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, believe the amendment will be a "disaster" if it passes.

To Be Continued

Republican Troy Balderson was declared the winner of the 12th District special election. Democrat Danny O'Connor conceded the race but hopes to continue his momentum into November when the two will face off again.

Mike Thompson spends much of his time correcting people who mispronounce the name of his hometown – Worcester, Massachusetts. Mike studied broadcast journalism at Syracuse University when he was not running in circles – as a distance runner on the SU track team.
Steve Brown grew up in nearby Richwood, Ohio and now lives there with his wife and sons. He started his journalism career as a weekend board operator at WOSU while majoring in journalism at Ohio State, where he also wrote for the student newspaper The Lantern and co-founded the organization Students for Public Broadcasting.
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