Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert Indicted on Bank Charges
Denny Hastert, who followed Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House of Representatives, has been indicted for crimes related to banking transactions.
Federal prosecutors have announced bank-related charges against former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
A statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago says the 73-year-old Illinois Republican is accused of structuring the withdrawal of $952,000 in cash in order to evade the requirement that banks report cash transactions over $10,000. He’s also accused of lying to the FBI.
Each count of the indictment carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
From 2010 to 2014, Hastert withdrew a total of approximately $1.7 million in cash from various bank accounts and provided it to a person identified only as Individual A, according to the indictment.
In December last year, “Hastert falsely stated that he was keeping the cash” when questioned by the FBI, the prosecutor’s statement says.
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has been indicted on federal charges alleging he agreed to pay $3.5 million in apparent hush money to a longtime acquaintance blackmailing him, then lied to the FBI when asked about suspicious cash withdrawals from several banks, federal prosecutors said.
The stunning indictment of the longtime Republican powerhouse alleged he gave about $1.7 million in cash to the acquaintance, identified only as Individual A in the charges, to “compensate for and conceal (Hastert’s) prior misconduct” against Individual A that had occurred years earlier.
Hastert, a former high school teacher, served eight years as House speaker and has been working as a lobbyist in Washington since stepping down from office in 2008.
Hastert, 73, of Plano, was charged with one count each of structuring currency transactions to evade Currency Transaction Reports and making a false statement to the FBI, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He will be arraigned later at U.S. District Court in downtown Chicago.
According to the seven-page indictment, Hastert withdrew a total of $1.7 million in cash from various bank accounts between 2010 and 2014 to give to Individual A. In December, Hastert began structuring the cash withdrawals in increments less than $10,000 to evade bank reporting requirements, the indictment said.
When questioned by the FBI about the withdrawals, Hastert lied and said the cash was for his own use, according to the charges.
“Yeah, I kept the cash. That’s what I’m doing,” the indictment quoted Hastert as telling agents.
Hastert was not charged with any counts specifically alleging blackmail or extortion of Individual A, and further details of the alleged misconduct against Individual A were not provided in the indictment.
“Stunning” is correct. Given that the money in question was almost certainly earned legally, I’m much more intrigued by what happened with regard to “Individual A” than the specific crime of attempting to evade the detection of the withdrawals. The most obvious theory is that Hastert was having an adulterous relationship with said individual.