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Bribery scandal informant feels 'disenchanted' with Ohio politics

Matt Borges
Joshua A. Bickel
Former Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges walks toward Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse with his attorneys on Jan. 20, 2023, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Borges and former state House Speaker Larry Householder were convicted Thursday, March 9, 2023, in a $60 million bribery scheme that federal prosecutors have called the largest corruption case in state history.

A key piece of evidence in the corruption trial of Larry Householder and Matt Borges was a recorded conversation between Borges and FBI informant Tyler Fehrman.

On this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown talk with Fehrman about his decision to blow the whistle when his mentor offered him a shady deal.

Wearing a wire

It has been a week since a federal jury found former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and lobbyist Matt Borges guilty of racketeering in the state’s largest political scandal.

Householder funneled $61 million from First Energy through a dark money group to get himself elected speaker, then pass the $1 billion bailout of FirstEnergy’s nuclear power plants and then fight off a repeal effort.

The trial featured riveting testimony, a brutal cross-examination of Householder and secret recordings.

The man who provided one of those recordings—the conversation that probably led to Matt Borges’ conviction—is Tyler Fehrman. He was working on the campaign to repeal the bailout when his friend and mentor Matt Borges offered him money to relay inside information to the campaign defending the bailout.

Snollygoster of the week

Sen. Jerry Cirino proposed a sweeping bill telling Ohio's public colleges and universities what they can and cannot do.

The bill would prohibit employees from striking and ban partnerships with Chinese universities. It would end diversity training mandates, but it would mandate all college students to take U.S. history.

We can debate intellectual diversity on campus—that’s a debate worth having—but Sen. Cirino wants to put into state law a mandatory reading list for the history class.

If you have a suggestion for our "Snollygoster of the Week" award, a question or a comment, send them to snollygoster@wosu.org.