The 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