Hastert reputation on the line
Joe was shocked to hear the news that former Republican House speaker, Dennis Hastert, was charged with hiding cash withdrawals to evade banking reporting requirements, as well as lying to the FBI.
“Denny was a guy beloved by everybody and he would be the last guy in the world you would ever expect to see this headline from,” Joe said to the rest of the panel.
There was also shock on Capital Hill from both sides of politics as the news spread that the longest serving Republican in the House could be facing years behind bars. “He was a unifying figure in the House,” said The New York Times’ Jeremy Peters. “No one expected something like this to happen to this guy”.
What are the FBI alleging?
The indictment states Hastert was approached by an individual in 2010 regarding a past misconduct, and alleges that he agreed to pay $3.5 million to compensate and hide the misconduct.
It’s alleged that when the bank started to question transactions made by Hastert between June 2010 and April 2012, he started to take out less than $10,000 at a time so the withdrawals didn’t have to be reported. When questioned by the FBI, the 73-year-old denied it was hush money and that he was trying to flout banking rules, but claimed he was withdrawing the money because he doesn’t trust banks.
The Prosecution also says the alleged misconduct took place many years before in Yorkville, Illinois, which is the town next to where Hastert used to live and work. “The fact that the indictment mentions his years as a wrestling coach and a teacher certainly suggests that the misconduct he considered worth paying $3.5 million to keep quiet, obviously goes back to that time in his life,” Joe said.