Report: Dennis Hastert Hush Money Was for Sexual Misconduct

From the Los Angeles Times:

Indicted former House Speaker Dennis 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.

“It goes back a long way, back to then,” the source said. “It has nothing to do with public corruption or a corruption scandal. Or to his time in office.”  Thursday’s indictment described the misconduct “against Individual A” as having “occurred years earlier.”

Read the rest of the story here.

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CHICAGO, May 29 (UPI) — Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert allegedly violated banking laws to obtain money to hide a sexual relationship he had while teaching high school in Illinois, officials said.

Two federal law enforcement officials told the Los Angeles Times on Friday that Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million to a man he allegedly had a sexual relationship with when he taught at a Yorkville, Ill., high school. The alleged sexual misconduct happened prior to Hastert’s time in Congress.

“It goes back a long way, back to then,” one of the sources said. “It has nothing to do with public corruption or a corruption scandal. Or to his time in office.”

Both sources said the alleged misconduct was sexual in nature.

Sources told NBC News the alleged sexual misconduct happened with a student.

Hastert taught social studies and coached wrestling at Yorkville High School from 1965 to 1981. The school district told NBC News it had “no knowledge of Mr. Hastert’s alleged misconduct, nor has any individual contacted the district to report any such misconduct.”

Hastert was indicted Thursday for allegedly violating U.S. banking laws that require the disclosure of all cash transactions that exceed $10,000.

Hastert was paying the money to an unnamed individual to “compensate for and conceal” the unspecified past misconduct, the indictment said. In the course of the payments, Hastert allegedly made numerous cash withdrawals from four bank accounts without notifying proper officials, as required by law.

From 2010 to 2015, payments totaling $1.7 million were made to the unnamed individual, often in increments of $100,000 and $50,000, the indictment alleges.

The FBI and Internal Revenue Service began looking into the transactions in 2013.

After cutting his withdrawals to less than $10,000 to get around the banking laws, the indictment says, Hastert made payments totaling $952,000 to the recipient — an amount that was achieved through at least 106 different bank withdrawals.

When asked about the transactions in December, the indictment says, Hastert lied to federal authorities and said he withdrew the cash due to a lack of confidence in the four banks holding his money.

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

The grand jury, which was convened in February, said the response was a lie because Hastert, at that time, knew he had been supplying the money to the unnamed recipient.

Hastert, 73, has been a Washington lobbyist since stepping down as House speaker in 2007.

He is expected to be arraigned on the charges in U.S. District Court. Each count carries a possible penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago said.

Doug G. Ware contributed to this report.


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