The Hastert Rule suddenly has new meaning, and not in a good way. Apparently Former Speaker Hastert was caught evading requirements to report cash transfers in excess of $10,000. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.
The Justice Department has indicted former House Speaker Dennis Hastert on reporting evasion charges and lying to the FBI as part of an effort to pay off victims of “prior bad acts.”
In an indictment handed down in the District Court of Northern Illinois, the Department of Justice and IRS charged Hastert, 73, with illegally transferring funds in an effort to avoid detection by the IRS, a scheme known as “structuring.”
In the indictment, Hastert is accused of agreeing to pay one individual $3.5 million.
Although the indictment specifies neither the “bad acts” nor the victims, sources said they could be from before Hastert, who is now a lobbyist in Washington, entered politics in 1980.
Perish the thought! A Republican politician-turned-lobbyist is a crook? Yes, yes, he is.
Here's the story from the indictment.
Someone Hastert has known for years confronted him about some really bad thing Hastert did to them. That Really Bad Thing is not detailed in the indictment, but it was evidently something that Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million to that unnamed person in order to avoid publicity.
From 2010 to 2014, Hastert made cash transfers to the Unnamed Person of $1.7 million against the $3.5 million balance, in increments of $50,000 to $100,000 every six weeks or so.
Until 2012, the bank did not ask for, nor did Hastert provide, the required disclosures for why such amounts were being transferred between parties. When Hastert was questioned by bank authorities in 2012, he changed his withdrawal patterns to withdraw periodic amounts that fell just under the threshold of $10,000.
That's called "structuring," and it's illegal. It's the same kind of charge that FIFA officials are now being nailed on.
Worse yet, when he was asked by the FBI to explain what he was doing, he lied to them. Very bad idea to do that, as I think he now knows.
The Big Questions, of course, remain. What did Hastert do that was worth $3.5 million to keep quiet? And who did he do it to?
Update: I see Hastert had some sort of connection with Jack Abramoff, though it seems to be one that isn't very strong. He donated some political contributions received from the Abramoff outfit.