FBI alleges bribes, extortion by former Ohio House speaker

COLUMBUS (AP) — Federal investigators seized records from former Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger’s office earlier this year as part of a federal criminal investigation into potential bribes and kickbacks surrounding payday lending legislation, according to documents released Monday.

A subpoena and search warrant that the House released in response to public records requests provided new details of the FBI probe that led to the Republican rising star’s sudden resignation in April.

Agents seized three boxes of documents, a box of sport coats and a jacket, and a thumb drive in May that investigators believe contain evidence of extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, attempt to commit extortion and bribery, the documents show.

Later Monday, the House released the hundreds of pages of documents it has turned over to the FBI.

House Republicans’ political fund, OHROC, also released documents Monday showing it had turned over to the FBI a personal computer left behind by Rosenberger. A spokesman said the organization volunteered the information “in the interest of transparency.”

Rosenberger’s lawyer, David Axelrod, reiterated that Rosenberger “has nothing to hide” and is fully cooperating in the investigation.

He said the warrants and documents released Monday contained nothing that hasn’t been known for months and cautioned against reading too much into them.

“Search warrants may be interesting to read, but aren’t necessarily good indicators of what evidence actually exists,” he said in a statement.