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Dan Gilmore / May 29, 2015

Secrecy Surrounds Dennis Hastert’s Indictment

The Department of Justice unveiled an indictment against former House Speaker Dennis Hastert Thursday, accusing him of lying to the FBI and withdrawing cash in such a way as to hide the fact he was paying someone “$3.5 million in order to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct.” It’s stunning enough that federal prosecutors brought charges against a politician of Hastert’s caliber. But the question of the hour is why he was so willing to pay someone $3.5 million. Before entering politics, Hastert taught high school history and coached wrestling in Yorkville, Illinois. Someone in the U.S. attorney’s office apparently believes paying a bribe is a greater crime than Hastert’s misconduct. So they covered up the information because it’s embarrassing to the former politician. He was once one of the most powerful politicians in the country and we are denied the ability to know whether this affected his leadership. More…

Update: According to the Los Angeles Times, “Hastert was paying an individual from his past to conceal sexual misconduct, two federal law enforcement officials said Friday. One of the officials, who would not speak publicly about the federal charges in Chicago, said ‘Individual A,’ as the person is described in Thursday’s federal indictment, was a man and that the alleged misconduct was unrelated to Hastert’s tenure in Congress. The actions date to Hastert’s time as a Yorkville, Ill., high school wrestling coach and teacher, the official said.”

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