Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has been indicted on charges that he lied to the FBI and attempted to skirt financial disclosure laws.
The indictment alleges that the 73 year old Hastert withdrew $1.7 million in cash from various bank accounts between 2010 and 2014. Hastert allegedly made fifteen $50,000 withdrawals from June 2010 to April 2012, providing the funds as hush money to an unnamed individual referred to as “Individual A” to “compensate for and conceal [Hastert’s] prior misconduct.”
The large withdrawals triggered an investigation from bank managers and the federal government. Federal law requires banks to report withdrawals exceeding $10,000.
“Yeah, I kept the cash. That’s what I’m doing,” Hastert is quoted as telling FBI agents investigating the suspicious bank withdrawals.
After being questioned over the transactions, federal prosecutors allege that Hastert began to make smaller withdrawals in increments smaller than $10,000 to avoid the automatic reporting of his transactions to the federal government.
Hastert allegedly continued to make payments to “Individual A” through 2014, agreeing to pay $100,000 every three months at pre-arranged meeting places and times.
The US attorney’s office in Chicago says that Hastert lied to the FBI and intentionally attempted to evade the bank disclosure requirement. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine.
Hastert served as Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1999 until 2007, representing Illinois’s 14th Congressional district as a Republican for 20 years. His tenure as Speaker was rocked with criminal charges filed against House colleagues Tom Poe, Mark Foley and former majority leader Tom DeLay.