There was a time in the not so distance past when Dennis Hastert was just a few steps away from the presidency. Now, the former Speaker of the House is in a world of badness and hurt.
First, remember Congressman Mark Foley and Dennis Hastert? I covered the issue pretty well – here, here and here. Talking Points Memo has a nice summary – Ever since yesterday’s shocking revelations, it seemed like news like this would come out as the underlying bad act behind Denny Hastert’s public downfall. Because of that, the almost decade old Mark Foley scandal has rushed back into the minds of everyone who covered that story at the time. To review, if you weren’t around at the time, in September 2006, in the death throes of the old Republican majority, it emerged that Congressman Mark Foley had had sexual interactions with male members of the Congressional page program, i.e. high school age students. Foley was not out as a gay man, though I think it was widely known or at least assumed that he was gay.
It now appears that the former Congressman paid $3.5 million in hush money to have some of his old sexual misconduct swept under the rug.
Hastert was indicted Thursday on charges of structuring bank withdrawals to avoid federal reporting requirements and lying to the FBI about those withdrawals. The former speaker allegedly had withdrawn $1.7 million in cash out of $3.5 million he agreed to pay an unidentified individual in compensation for “prior misconduct” on Hastert’s part that had occurred years earlier.
I really will not be posting much on this story. This is a personal tragedy.