How much misconduct is involved to have to pay someone $3.5 million?
YORKVILLE, Ill. — J. Dennis Hastert, the longest-serving Republican speaker in the history of the U.S. House, was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on charges that he violated banking laws in a bid to pay $3.5 million to an unnamed person to cover up “past misconduct.”
Hastert, 73, who has been a high-paid lobbyist in Washington since his 2007 retirement from Congress, schemed to mask more than $950,000 in withdrawals from various accounts in violation of federal banking laws that require the disclosure of large cash transactions, according to a seven-page indictment delivered by a grand jury in Chicago.
The indictment did not spell out the exact nature of the “prior misconduct” by Hastert, but it noted that before entering state and federal politics in 1981, Hastert served for more than a decade as a teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School in Illinois.
In 2010, confronted about the “prior misconduct,” the former speaker agreed to pay $3.5 million to the person “to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct against Individual A,” prosecutors alleged.
That person, whose identity was shielded by prosecutors, has known Hastert most of his or her life, growing up in Yorkville, the city next to Hastert’s home town of Plano, in the exurbs west of Chicago. Prosecutors said the actions “occurred years earlier” than the 2010 meeting that sparked the payments.
In a statement Friday, the Yorkville school district that employed Hastert from 1965 to 1981 said it “was first made aware of any concerns” about him when he was indicted Thursday.
“Yorkville Community Unit School District #115 has no knowledge of Mr. Hastert’s alleged misconduct, nor has any individual contacted the District to report any such misconduct,” the statement said. “If requested to do so, the District plans to cooperate fully with the U.S. Attorney’s investigation into this matter.”
Breaking now… Hastert reportedly was paying someone to cover up sexual misconduct that occurred while he was working as a high school teacher and coach in Illinois.
The Los Angeles Times reported today that the bank-related charges in the indictment pertain to payments he was making to a male individual from his past.