Sunday, May 31, 2015

Slow Saturday Special: Hastert’s Hangover

That's his excu$e? I was drunk?

"Ex-House speaker Hastert indicted on federal charges" by Monica Davey New York Times   May 29, 2015

CHICAGO — J. Dennis Hastert, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, was charged on Thursday with lying to the FBI and structuring cash withdrawals to avoid bank reporting requirements.

Sounds harmless enough as the grog wears off.

Hastert, 73, a longtime Republican leader who served as speaker from 1999 until 2007 and now works as a lobbyist in Washington, was providing money to an unnamed person in order to “compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct” against that person, according to a federal indictment issued by Zachary Fardon, the US attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

The indictment says that Hastert, who was once a high school teacher and wrestling coach in a small Illinois town, paid $1.7 million to the person from 2010 to 2014.

Since 2012, the indictment alleges, Hastert had begun structuring withdrawals of less than $10,000 from various accounts to avoid bank reporting requirements as he made the payments. And in late 2014, Hastert told federal agents that he was not paying anyone with the money but was keeping the withdrawals for himself.

“Yeah,” the indictment quotes Hastert as telling the agents. “I kept the cash. That’s what I’m doing.”

According to the indictment, he told the agents that he was making the withdrawals to store the cash “because he did not feel safe with the banking system.”

He knew it was going to collapse and decided to get his money out?

In 1999, Hastert, who was then a six-term congressman from Illinois, was catapulted to the speaker’s post after Newt Gingrich stepped down after a contentious national election marked by the wounds that the House inflicted on itself during the impeachment proceedings against then-President Bill Clinton.

The Republicans’ first choice to succeed Gingrich, Robert L. Livingston of Louisiana, gave up the position before he assumed it, acknowledging that he had carried on adulterous affairs. Hastert was chosen because of his reputation among his Republican colleagues as a conciliator.

He left Congress in November 2007.

After the House was turned over to Pelosi.

Each count of the indictment carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to a statement from the US attorney’s office.

Hastert was a little-known lawmaker from Plano, Ill., a Chicago suburb, when chosen to succeed Gingrich as speaker. During his term, he pushed President George W. Bush’s legislative agenda, helping pass a large tax cut and expanding Medicare prescription drug benefits.

He retired from Congress in 2007 after eight years as speaker.

Since 2008 he has been a senior adviser at Dickstein Shapiro LLP in Washington, where he is a registered lobbyist.

Hastert resigned Thursday from the board of CME Group Inc., the Chicago-based futures exchange operator, where he had served since 2008, most recently as a member of its compensation committee, Bloomberg News reported.


That's it? That's all it's about?

"Hastert charges tied to old sex abuse allegation; Ex-speaker was trying to buy accuser’s silence" by Michael D. Shear and Michael S. Schmidt New York Times  May 30, 2015

WASHINGTON — J. Dennis Hastert, the former Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, was paying a man to not say publicly that Hastert had sexually abused him decades ago, according to two people briefed on the evidence uncovered in an FBI investigation into the payments.

I did what? With whom?

Federal prosecutors Thursday announced the indictment of Hastert on allegations that he made cash withdrawals designed to hide those payments and for lying to federal authorities about the purpose of the withdrawals.

The man — who was not identified in court papers — told the FBI that he had been touched by Hastert when Hastert was a high school teacher and wrestling coach, the two people said Friday.

Oh, no. No wonder he was in a position of power. Totally exposed to blackmail.

The people briefed on the inquiry spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a federal investigation.

The FBI declined to comment.

It was not clear when the alleged behavior occurred.

Does it matter? Most will care only about the what, not the when.

But according to court documents, Hastert was a high school teacher and coach in Yorkville, Ill., from 1965 to 1981. The FBI was not able to substantiate the allegations beyond the man’s statements.

Yorkville, huh?

Federal authorities unsealed an indictment of Hastert on Thursday, although it skirted the issue of what Hastert had done to the man that led to the payments. The indictment charges Hastert, 73, with one count of evading bank regulations by withdrawing $952,000 in increments of less than $10,000 to sidestep reporting requirements. He also is charged with one count of lying to the FBI about the reason for the unusual withdrawals. Each count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

A statement from the US attorney’s office announcing the indictment said Hastert will be ordered to appear for arraignment. The date was not immediately set.

The indictment said that in 2010, the man met with Hastert several times, and that at one of those meetings Hastert agreed to pay him $3.5 million “in order to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct against” the man.

The indictment stunned Hastert’s friends and former Capitol Hill colleagues, who said Friday morning that they were struggling to make sense of the federal charges against him.

“In my dealings with Denny, he was always straight up, aboveboard, and never even close to crossing the line on anything,” said Tom Davis, who represented Virginia as a Republican House member.

Did he ever touch you in a strange way?

The indictment alleges that Hastert agreed to provide money to a person identified as “Individual A” in order to “compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct.” It said Hastert was structuring the cash withdrawals in increments designed to avoid bank reporting requirements. The indictment does not provide details of the misconduct.

Federal prosecutors said in the indictment that Hastert had made cash withdrawals from banks in a way that was designed to hide his activities. The indictment said that Hastert had made $1.7 million in payments so far.

The indictment also said Hastert, a Republican who served as speaker from 1999 to 2007, had lied to the FBI about the transactions.

Yorkville is about 50 miles southwest of Chicago. The indictment, announced by the US attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, said the recipient of the payments was from Yorkville and had known Hastert.

The allegations against a man who was once one of the most powerful people in Washington had left lobbyists, lawmakers, veteran Capitol Hill staff members, and others to speculate about what Hastert, who for eight years was second in line to the presidency, might have done to the person identified only as “Individual A” in the indictment.

This will go away soon (like the Bob Menendez trial).

One former colleague of Hastert’s described himself as genuinely mystified by the indictment and said he had spent much of Thursday evening talking with many of the former speaker’s Washington friends, who shared his bewilderment.

Davis, who served in the House for 14 years, said, “I think we are all shocked by this.” 

I wish I could say I was; however, it's become clear the political cla$$ is full of $ick perverts.

Kim Nerheim, a spokeswoman for the US attorney’s office, said Friday that Hastert’s case had been assigned to Judge Thomas M. Durkin of US District Court, who will schedule the arraignment for the former speaker, perhaps as early as next week. Durkin, a former prosecutor and white-collar criminal defense lawyer who was nominated to the bench by President Obama in 2012, will accept a plea from Hastert and set the calendar for the case, Nerheim said.

Hastert, who has been a lobbyist since leaving Congress, could not be reached for comment at his office in Washington. Nerheim said Friday that there was no lawyer of record for Hastert.

A statement released Friday by the Yorkville Community Unit School District confirmed that Hastert had worked for the district from 1965 to 1981, but said that officials there first learned of concerns about him when the indictment was released Thursday. “Yorkville Community Unit School District #115 has no knowledge of Mr. Hastert’s alleged misconduct,” the statement said.

Well, it sure sounds like someone did.



  1. $3.5 million is a lot of money for this kind of thing.  Was Hastert feeling guilty?
  2. This is being described as 'extortion'.  Had the victim employed a lawyer the payments would have been described as a 'settlement'.
  3. Hastert became speaker as the Republicans at the time (the post-Lewinsky era) couldn't find anyone else who wasn't involved in a sex scandal, and Hastert himself eventually exited politics due to allegations he and his staff had covered up the Foley sex scandal.
  4. While speaker, and subsequently as a lobbyist, Hastert became enormously rich.
  5. Hastert got caught on money laundering provisions that are in place for the War On Terror as part of the Patriot Act he pushed through.  Ha!
  6. There are specific parts of the legislation involving money withdrawals, but Hastert got caught primarily for attempting to evade the law.  In other words, complying with the law is a crime.
  7. If cash is illegal, how will bribes be paid? 
  8. "Denny Hastert's Creepy C-SPAN Call: 'Remember Me?'"
  9. "Franklin child prostitution ring allegations"  Officially a hoax.
  10. Superb picture.
  11. Wayne Madsen, who is generally held by 'journalists' to be completely beneath contempt, got the background of this story entirely right years ago.  What if Madsen is right about everything?

Of course, it's now Sunday:

"Dennis Hastert’s indictment has Ill. hometown sifting memories; Allegations of sexual assault stun residents" by Don Babwin Associated Press  May 31, 2015

YORKVILLE, Ill. — Before he was House speaker and second in line to the president, Dennis Hastert was known around Yorkville, Ill., as Denny the coach, a beloved mentor to youths on the high school wrestling team and in local Scouting groups who organized road trips to broaden the students’ experiences.

Ooooooh boy!

I always thought that was a stereotype, but now.... 

This week’s indictment accusing Hastert of manipulating bank accounts and lying to the FBI to allegedly cover up past “misconduct” has left hometown admirers searching back through fond memories and struggling to understand how alleged sexual abuse and extortion could have emerged from that period.

After all we have seen regarding the Catholic Church and beyond?

Many former wrestlers and Yorkville-area residents interviewed since the indictment Thursday spoke only warmly of Hastert, some athletes saying Hastert was like a father figure as he guided them to championships.

They couldn’t recall anything suspicious about the road trips, some to far-flung places like the Bahamas and Canada. And none had a clue about who could have made such accusations against the coach.

Maybe he called C-Span a year ago; then the NSA would know who they are.

“Now everybody is guessing who it is,” said Bob Evans, Hastert’s assistant wrestling coach, who joined him in taking Boy Scouts camping and fishing in northern Minnesota. “This puts a cloud over what was a pretty special time for people.”

Too much alcohol can cloud the judgement.

Evans said there was never a hint of wrongdoing and he was angry that someone would accuse Hastert without coming forward publicly.

Is it that easy to out yourself as a victim of that humiliation, and the question should be WHY DID DENNY PAY!?

Hastert’s legacy is visible in this small Fox River town about 45 miles southwest of Chicago. There’s the renovated historic courthouse and a forest preserve that both received money Hastert helped bring back from Washington.

The pork fat didn't help lubricate the hurt feelings?

Former students say he left an intangible imprint, too, on their lives. Mindful of that record, residents expressed disbelief and confusion at the claims.

Ask the feds. Would they have charged him?

Neal Ament, 66, was a senior at Yorkville High School when Hastert arrived in 1965 from nearby Plano to teach history and economics and coach the wrestling team. Ament said the team won the conference in his first season as head coach.

“Our team was just a bunch of floundering farm boys” until Hastert taught them the science behind wrestling, Ament recalled.

He was as memorable in the classroom, said Ament, who still lives in the Yorkville area and has occasionally run into Hastert at a local hardware store. “Hopefully this will end up being a big misunderstanding,” he said.

The federal indictment announced Thursday accused Hastert of agreeing to pay $3.5 million to keep a person from the suburban Chicago town silent about “prior misconduct,” but the court papers did not detail the wrongdoing.

A person familiar with the allegations said Friday that the Illinois Republican is accused of sexually molesting someone decades ago. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing and those specific allegations are not in the indictment.

Hastert has not responded to phone calls and e-mails from the Associated Press. No lawyer had come forward publicly by Saturday afternoon to represent him.

That is where my Sunday Globe print stopped.

Hastert taught and coached in Yorkville until 1981 and was a Boy Scouts of America volunteer for 17 years over that period, leading what was then called Explorer Post 540.

Bob Corwin, a close friend, was one of the other adults accompanying Hastert and the teens on some of the Scout trips, including to the Grand Canyon.

He said when they were in the Bahamas they all stayed in the same cabin.

“We were all in there together,” he said Saturday at the judo club where he has taught for decades. “I never knew nothing about anything going on” that was improper.

Evans, Hastert’s fellow coach, recalled one trip where he, Hastert, and a Japanese exchange student shared a tent.

“The only thing he did was snore like a gorilla,” he said of Hastert. “We were always all together. There was no sneaking around from tent to tent.”

Daniel Zedan, council commissioner for the St. Charles, Ill.-based Boy Scout Council 127, said national Boy Scout officials have asked the local council to look for records associated with Hastert’s tenure as a volunteer in Yorkville. But no complaints have been brought to their attention, he said.

Zedan said the councils that oversaw the Explorer post in Yorkville have merged with others over the years. “Each time there’s a merger, stuff is boxed up and put away.”


Think I'll abstain from any more Saturday Specials and move on to Sunday.

UPDATE: Court sets arraignment for Hastert in hush-money case

"Woman tells ABC that Dennis Hastert abused her brother" by Christine Hauser and Dave Philipps New York Times  June 06, 2015

NEW YORK — A woman named her deceased brother Friday as a victim of sexual abuse by J. Dennis Hastert, the former House speaker, saying the abuse took place while he was a student at the Illinois high school where Hastert was a wrestling coach.

The comments by the woman, made on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” marked the first time that a person has been publicly identified as a possible victim of Hastert.


The woman, Jolene Reinboldt Burdge, said her brother, Stephen Reinboldt, was an equipment manager at the high school in Yorkville, Ill.

In the interview Friday, Burdge called Hastert a father figure for her brother, adding that Stephen Reinboldt had been part of a group that accompanied him on a trip to the Bahamas.

Hastert was a high school teacher and coach in Yorkville from 1965 to 1981 and worked with the Boy Scouts.

Burdge said she learned of the years of abuse when her older brother revealed to her that he was gay eight years after he left high school.

“I asked him, ‘When was your first same-sex experience?’” she said. “He looked at me and said, ‘It was with Dennis Hastert.’ I was stunned.”

“And he just turned around and kind of looked at me and said, ‘Who is ever going to believe me?’”

Burdge said she believed the abuse ended when her brother moved away after his high school graduation in 1971. Stephen Reinboldt died of AIDS in 1995.

Burdge said she had confronted Hastert when he unexpectedly came to her brother’s funeral, telling him, “I want you to know that your secret didn’t die here with my brother.”


Better go have a beer and keep your mouth shut, Denny.

Also see: 

Guam becomes first US territory to recognize gay marriage
Enola Gay pilot’s kin leads air wing
Gay men’s chorus to make history with Mideast tour

I'm tired of the same old agenda-pushing songs, sorry.