Former House Speaker Hastert Indicted

220px-Dennis_Hastert_109th_pictorial_photoThe details on the indictment of former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, 73, have remained hazy with some notable gaps in the underlying criminal enterprise alleged in the complaint. The theory is that Hastert was paying millions to a blackmailer and tried to hide the payment through “structuring” of withdrawing less than $10,000 to avoid reporting to the federal government. What is interesting however is that the underlying alleged blackmailer has not been charged. There is also the question of the subject of the earlier “misconduct” and whether it could be charged. Some offenses like child molestation can be charged many years after the fact. Hastert was indicted on two counts for charged with lying to the F.B.I. and the structuring of withdrawals, both carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Hastert is accused of structuring the withdrawal of $925,000 in cash and then lying to the FBI about the withdrawals. The FBI says that Hastert met with an unnamed individual in 2010 and discussed “prior misconduct.” It must have been pretty serious “misconduct” if the parties agreed on the payment of $3.5 million “in order to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct against Individual A.”

From 2010 to 2014, Hastert withdrew a total of approximately $1.7 million in cash from various bank accounts and provided it to this unnamed individual. When the bank raised questions in 2012 about the large withdrawals, Hastert reportedly reduced the withdrawals through structuring. In April 2014, Hastert allegedly lied about the money and said he did not trust banks and was keeping the case — when he was giving the money to this individual.

Hastert has been working with the lobbying and law firm of Dickstein Shapiro LLC.

It is curious to have so little information on the underlying facts and “misconduct” or the status of the person receiving such money. Perhaps we will learn more in the coming days about the nature of the misconduct and why the individual was not charged if this were a case of blackmail.

Source: New York Times

272 thoughts on “Former House Speaker Hastert Indicted”

  1. randyjet … just lied more or less. You CAN give to whomever ever you want, but when the SIEU does it, by government edict to collect, they chose, not you…they get “dues” for serving you not at all. Sorry, but my old skilled trades unionism cannot abode the SIEU. Call me an old fashioned troglodyte…because I am one. Outfits like SIEU has destroyed whatever was left of trade unionism, sorry if that is offensive. Never-the-less, it is also true. I mean, come on, membership demanded of home care workers, baby sitters, et al…wihtout a vote in all of it. That’s BS. Said by an old union hand.

  2. Mr. Schulte,

    “Even prominent supporters of the war have accepted that it was illegal. Richard Perle, a hawkish member of the Pentagon has stated that “international law … would have required us to leave Saddam Hussein alone.” (Wikipedia, The Guardian)

    On September 16, 2004 Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations, said of the invasion, “I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter. From our point of view, from the charter point of view, it was illegal.” (Wikipedia, BBC).” Say what you want about the UN, we are a charter member.

    Again, Hastert was one of the loudest voices in support of this illegal violence (people were murdered in this war, including US personnel, that’s basic violence) (Not to mention torture). Without the vote of Congress, which Hastert led, this war could not have been domestically legal. That demonstrates a fair penchant for violence. Mr. Hastert is a thug that reaches much greater levels of destruction than the street criminal (young colored person) that you are afraid of. Look at what’s happening in Iraq after our invasion… it’s not exactly liberating… Check-out Fallujah after we first invaded. That’s what Hastert fought for, that was mass violence.

  3. Mr. Schulte,

    You hate the truth apparently. The Iraq War was a violation of international law to anyone who is not completely servile to the idea American Exceptionalism and with an ability to read. I think even JT would agree the invasion of Iraq was illegal under international law. A textbook case of a “war of aggression”. Just because it was launched by us does not mean it should changes the factual analysis Mr. Schulte.

    Geez, would you consider our global torture regime to be against the law?

    1. TJustice – Which Iraq War and who (besides you) thinks it was illegal? 2nd one isn’t illegal because the first one ended with a cease-fire and conditions on Iraq (which they later broke) causing 2. One wasn’t illegal because it was sanctioned by the UN.

  4. If you think about it for a brief moment, it is easy to figure out that PAC contributions MUST be separated from union dues since union members can take a deduction off their income for that expense of union dues if you itemize. Political contributions CANNOT be taken off income for tax purposes. I don’t know how things are being done now after Citizens United. I have to assume that the union can vote to contribute from the general funds.

  5. randyjet,

    Help me out….

    You say before the SCOTUS ruling unions were prohibited from contributing to political campaigns. That’s news to me. Can you provide a cite?

    1. I don’t have the cite for the law, but I was a union official, and the only thing the union could do is have a PAC which members contributed to. Union dues were not allowed to be used. Members could also have a check off on their union dues which would be to the PAC as well, which was above and separate from their dues.

  6. randyjet … surely you jest? Multiple millions from all over the world match the Koch’s any day. Not a fan, here, of the Koch’s, but I am also a realist. Today, money, on both sides, runs the show. If we can escape that somehow, good for us…but it will take far more than whining about Citizens United. It is an affliction of both sides….no amount of denial will make a difference. In my skilled trades days, frequently union, we produced things…today we have the SIEU…what do they produce? Other than noise? I don’t even consider them a “union” per se. Yet they would keep their influence and deny it to the corporations…sounds like one supports the other, in an obtuse way. We either stop kidding ourselves or we go down with the ship.

    1. I guess that you have not been following the news much then. The Kochs and friends have put in nearly one billion dollars into their fund for the elections. I don’t know where you get the international money comes in on the Democrats side since most of that is on the GOP side.

      As for union contributions, they are so small that it is absurd to compare it to the billionaires club. I had a chat with a GOP woman who loved the Citizens United decision since she saw it meant a BIG advantage for the GOP. I think that she has a better grasp on reality than some. As for the slur on the SEIU they produce clean hotels, kitchens, etc..and if you refer to office or state employees, the Koch’s have basically destroyed them and in Texas they are outlawed because state employees cannot use paycheck deductions to give them money. You can donate to the United Way, Boy Scouts, etc.. but NO UNION! So to equate one side with the other is again absurd. Before the SCOTUS ruling, unions were prohibited from giving to political campaigns by the way.

    2. Aridog wrote: “Not a fan, here, of the Koch’s, but I am also a realist. Today, money, on both sides, runs the show.”

      I have never understood what is wrong with the Koch’s. The only definitive thing anyone says is that they have too much money. Really? That’s a crime?

      I like how they attempt to persuade others about free market ideas and what will make this country great. I think they are right on track. I like their support of Tea Party politics. Nothing is wrong with the Koch’s as far as I can see. I guess they are just too successful and too good, some the whiners have to whine about it out of envy I guess.

    1. I agree that LBJ was corrupt, but he was simply doing what was normal for politics in that era. The interesting thing is that he signed the Voting Rights Act which gave the Federal government the ability to intervene in state and local elections, and thus destroyed the old political machine in Texas. So when LBJ won election to the Senate in a disputed primary, the SCOTUS found that they could not intervene given the previous rulings. The Act corrected this flaw, and thus made it more difficult for such shenanigans to be done in the future. Of course, in his first run for Senate, LBJ had the election stolen from him, so I guess justice was served eventually.

  7. Jesus, enough with the Koch brothers thing….it’s not like their is a dearth of wealthy donors to the Democrats. Difference is no one in the D party seems to notice. Say what? Ask Hillary.

    1. Aridog, While the Clintons and Democrats have lots of wealthy folks, they are no where near what the Koch brothers have in terms of wealth and donating money. It is like comparing a C-152 to a C-5A. Let’s get real.

    2. Aridog – the Koch Brothers are a meme for the Democrats and particularly Progressives. When you see Koch Brothers used, see a big Progressive sign on the forehead of the person using it.

  8. nettle said [appropriate “nick” BTW 🙂 ]

    On a meta-level, Hastert epitomizes the Republican party

    Not in my book, no more than Harry Reid [or yee gawd Nancy Pelosi] is the epitome of Democrats. Hubris will bring the powerful down, eventually. If anything irritates me today it is the oppositional posture both parties seem to take, lead by a few, too scared to resist. Hardly the days of JFK and LBJ…however some liked them or didn’t. If anyone thinks 1964 and 12965 were “easy” years for LBJ wasn’t paying attention. Probably corrupt as anyone, LBJ did what today would be impossible.

  9. None of the ammendments offered by Republicans would benefit real American people. Corporations yes, people no. Well, maybe the Koch Bros. Come to think of it, no, not any real people. Republicans are only out to benefit the blood-suckers, not actual hard working American people

    1. nettle – because of Harry Reid we never got to see them – good, bad, or indifferent.

  10. schulte, your comment expresses your world view: “Why would a Speaker call a vote if it won’t go his way.” The problem is that it completely shuts out alternative views and voices. During Hasterts reign, Democratic Representatives drafted bills, many of them quite good for Americans, yet they were never allowed to be put to vote. Disenfranchisement doesn’t work in a democracy.

    1. nettle – you are aware that under Reid the Republicans have not able to offer amendments to bills, amendments that would be good for the American people. On a meta-level, Reid’s blind eye represents the Democratic Party.

  11. Three million plus dollars confirms a lot of truth beneath the innuendo. How many were harmed by this secret? What’s the population of the United States minus, perhaps, one per cent.

    Dennis Hastert was a bully. He developed the technique of never calling a vote he knew he couldn’t win that John Boehner continues to employ. Hastert rammmed through the Medicare prescription drug plan restricted the American people from negotiating with pharmaceutical companies for lower prices, thus putting tax payers and seniors at an economic disadvantage – one no responsible business owner would never agree to, mind you. us into

    Yeah, and he also slavishly help dragged us into a war for bogus reasons.

    1. nettle – if Hastert never brought something to the Congress he could not pass then what good would it have done to bring something that would not pass. Some of us call that ‘spinning our wheels.’ And Hastert had to get the other house of Congress to agree with him along with a President. He does not take all the blame for any thing.

  12. Correction: Hastert has been indicted for two federal offenses, one is structured withdrawals and the other is lying to a federal law enforcement officer. The rest of the jabber is innuendo. As I said earlier, I am always suspect of latter day come lately expose’ folks who didn’t speak out, if credible, when it would have done some good. Might just be me, but this seems to be more common today…tack on innuendo decades old to current events. What’s up with that? If the innuendo proves true, how many were harmed in the meantime due to the “silence” of such “witnesses?”

  13. @TinEar “It was the subterfuge which got him in trouble.”

    Exactly, I just can’t understand why supposedly intelligent people, sometimes with legal backgrounds, continue to lie and engage in cover-ups when they have to know that’s what will send them to jail. Often, they would never have done time for the underlying crime. Just ask Martha Stewart.

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