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Former House Speaker Hastert Faces Federal Indictment

By aaroncynic in News on May 29, 2015 12:15AM

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Federal prosecutors indicted former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert for violating banking laws and lying to the FBI on Thursday. According to the 7-page indictment, first published by Buzzfeed, the former speaker and Illinois politician, who now works as a lobbyist in Washington D.C., agreed to provide an unnamed individual he has known for most of his life with $3.5 million in order to “compensate for and conceal prior misconduct.”

From 2010 to 2014, Hastert withdrew a total of $1.7 million in cash from various bank accounts he controlled to provide funds to the individual. From June of 2010 through April 2012, he made 15 withdrawals of $50,000 in cash from accounts at three different banks, and supplied that money to the unnamed individual every six weeks.

As federal regulations require reports on transactions involving more than $10,000, that caught the attention of bank representatives, who questioned Hastert. He then began making cash withdrawals of under $10,000, and paid that money out in increments of $100,000 at prearranged meetings.

According to the indictment, after being questioned by the FBI, Hastert told agents he wasn’t comfortable with the banking system, saying “yeah, I took the cash…that’s what I’ve been doing.”

Hastert, 73, served in the House of Representatives for two decades, and was elected speaker after Newt Gingrich. He retired in 2007.

While the indictment doesn’t say what misconduct Hastert was trying to cover up with the money, it does note his career as a high school teacher and wrestling coach in Yorkville from 1965 to 1981, along with his status as a lobbyist from 2008 to the present.

Hastert joins an increasingly long line of Illinois politicians to face indictments and allegations of criminal behavior. The state has seen three Governors serve prison time since the 80’s, the most recent being former Governor Rod Blagogevich. Two state representatives were convicted of crimes last year, and earlier this year, Representative Aaron Schock resigned his post amidst controversy regarding the spending of campaign and taxpayer dollars. The timing of Hastert's news couldn't be more appropriate considering a report by the University of Illinois at Chicago was released today that names Chicago the "most corrupt city in the nation."