Former GOP House Speaker Indicted for Concealing Hush Money

Former Congressman Dennis Hastert, a Republican who served as Speaker of the House from 1999 to 2007, has been indicted for lying to the FBI and attempting to conceal nearly $1.7 million in cash withdrawals from his bank account – withdrawals for alleged hush money to cover up Hastert’s “prior misconduct” against someone from his past.

The Indictment, brought by federal prosecutors in Chicago, is a small masterpiece of innuendo.   Although it does not spell out Hastert’s “prior misconduct,” it goes out of its way to mention that Hastert from 1965 to 1981 “was a high school teacher and coach in Yorkville, Illinois.”  This would not be in the indictment unless it were relevant.  The alleged recipient of the money, “Individual A” has known Hastert “most of Individual A’s life.”  In 2010, two years after Hastert retired from Congress, Individual A and Hastert met multiple times, and at least once discussed misconduct by Hastert against Individual A “that had occurred years earlier.”  Hastert then allegedly agreed to pay the individual $3.5 million to keep quiet.

Sounds like Coach Hastert was trying to cover up a sex scandal, doesn’t it?  And although it is possible that Individual A is female, my hunch is that the misconduct involved a young man who is now grown and was shaking down Hastert.  Why else would the ex-Speaker (a conservative, evangelical Christian) agree to pay such a huge sum?   Hastert, now a well-paid lobbyist, might barely weather a hetero sex scandal (even if it involved an underage girl) but certainly not a homosexual version.

So the indictment thus far suggests two possible crimes, neither of them federal:  Hastert’s original “misconduct” (criminal if Individual A was underage at the time) and extortion (apparently committed by Individual A).  So how did this wind up in front of a federal grand jury?

Banks are required to file a Suspicious Activity Report for any transaction involving $10,000 or more.  This helps the feds detect money laundering, terrorist financing and the like.  It is a crime to structure your financial transactions in such a way as to avoid triggering these reporting requirements.    Such so-called structuring is outlawed by Title 31, Section 5324(a)(3) of the United States Code.  Hastert’s secret payments came to the attention of the feds via bank reporting, when his pattern of withdrawals became a series of smaller payments just under $10,000 each.

When the FBI interviewed Hastert about these payments, he allegedly lied and told the agents that he had made the withdrawals because he did not feel safe with the banking system.    And so now Hastert is charged with making a false statement to the FBI as well.

But what about the long-ago “misconduct” of Hastert and the more recent extortion by Individual A?   Aren’t prosecutors looking at those as well?

Let’s assume the worst:  that Hastert molested a minor many years ago, as a teacher/coach.  Could he be prosecuted for that?  Not any more.  The laws on sexual crimes in Illinois were revamped in the early 1980s. Even though the statute of limitations on sex crimes involving minors is now 20 years from the date that the victim turns 18, this lengthy limitations period does not apply if the crime was committed before 1984.  Hastert left coaching for Congress in 1981, so if he committed that type of abuse while working at the high school, the statute of limitations is long since gone.  Hastert could not be prosecuted for that.

Meanwhile, based on the indictment it appears that Individual A has committed the crime of Intimidation (i.e. extortion) against Hastert under Illinois law.  Under 720 ILCS 5/12-6, it is a crime to threaten to cause someone to perform an act (like paying hush money) by threatening to accuse the person of a crime or exposing that person to hatred, contempt or ridicule.  Since Hastert was allegedly making payments as late as 2014, presumably Individual A could be prosecuted by local authorities for extorting Hastert.

Taking the Indictment at face value, Hastert is a wrongdoer and a victim, and so is Individual A.  So far, prosecutors have exercised their discretion to prosecute only Hastert.  I suspect, however, that local prosecutors will not be able to ignore the extortion angle on this.  Expect Individual A to be unmasked and charged by the locals in the near future.

One Thought on “Former GOP House Speaker Indicted for Concealing Hush Money

  1. I was working for Los Angeles port authority is elevator mechanic for three days. I was laid off as you can call me disgruntled employee, but this is not about that it’s what I’ve seen in the corruption and mismanagement in dealing with your elevator equipment. the mismanagement and ignorance of your director is costing the taxpayers more money that should. These are the issues that I feel that need to be investigated. The use of contractors and contract labor to do the work that should’ve been done and was not pleaded by LA Port Authority employees. Possible corruption and graft or kickbacks in selecting elevator companies and maintenance. And allowing substandard maintenance and temporary repairs to fix known ongoing issues. Against costing taxpayers money instead of having complete repairs done under warranty temporary fixes seem to be a standard. The amount of time wasted or frivolously used by Los Angeles port authorities who should be conducting the work they are paid for, instead contracted out and again more taxpayer money wasted. I do not know if is due to corruption or ignorance on part of the director but he does not understand or know from his own words he’s not a technical or construction person. And he asked me what he needed to help him out. I told him that he needed to give personnel proper training and time to work on the elevators and escalators. He replied to me that this is not a training organization nor do they train. I again replied you have 30 different elevators in different locations with different issues with different safety concerns due to the port and the can type of construction and activities going on. And they needed to work in pairs, I was sent to work alone without any proper guidance. Basically I was handed the keys to a truck given up badge and left to my own. After I completed the heavy manual tasks that had been failed to be completed by Los Angeles port authority employees, or contractor. I craning out equipment left over and items to heavy to be carried downstairs to be cut up and removed. Again costing the taxpayers money. The mismanagement of the director by allowing this type of activities and personnel to be left at their own devices, seems to be the perfect breeding ground for grafting, and construction fraud and possible kickbacks. I witnessed the majority meander and go about personal tasks, hiding in obscure locations around the port. Intentionally neglecting, and being derelict of duty. All which again cost the taxpayers money. I saw on one occasion a freight elevator which later I found out was under warranty receiving temporary fix which may last until the end of the warranty. Customizations were made to the equipment by the installation crew causing issues with ware on inner gate. This was just temporally fixed by after installation altercations that were to provide a temporary fix but did not alleviate the issue. My concern is that after the warranty is up this will have to be fixed, correctly and it will cost the taxpayers more money because it was not done correctly the first time or the director unaware of the altercations and customizations was not able to correctly get an extension on warrantee due to wear issues. Again costing the taxpayers additional money. Seems like the employees there have a good thing going on the taxpayers dime. I believe an investigation into the practices and management going on and LA Port Authority should be investigated immediately to help stop the incredible amount of taxpayer money is being wasted, frivolously spent, and paid to employees that derelict their duties and not just contract outside labor costing the taxpayers even more money. The waste, administration, ministration cost, mismanagement, and personally I feel there’s an air of arrogance as I was told this is the city more than once. But such a attitude of indifference combined with mismanagement and ignorance could criminal activity be also involved?. As a taxpayer I will post this on Facebook and continue to ask for this to be reposted. This type of mismanagement should be brought up to the people and stopped.

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