By Shane Nicholson
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has been indicted on charges he manipulated transactions to avoid reporting rules and lying to the FBI.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Hastert structured withdrawals of over $950,000 in cash to subvert Currency Transaction Reports laws. Hastert lied to the FBI about the transactions during questioning in December 2014.
The indictment also reveals that in 2010 Hastert intended to pay an unnamed individual $3.5 million “to compensate for and conceal (Hastert’s) prior misconduct” against the person. The seven-page indictment asserts he withdrew a total of $1.7 million from multiple accounts between 2010 and 2014.
Hastert initially made withdrawals of $50,000 increments over the course of 2010 to 2012 totalling $750,000 to fulfill his agreement with who the indictment refers to only as “Individual A.”
He began making the withdrawals in amounts less than $10,000 in order to avoid financial reporting requirements after officials at banks questioned the manner of the transactions.
The indictment indicates that the extortion of Hastert pertains to events when he was a teacher and coach at Yorkville schools and not from his time as a Congressman, saying the unnamed individual “has been a resident of Yorkville, Illinois and has known defendant John Dennis Hastert most of Individual A’s life.”
The former Speaker was brought in for questioning by FBI agents on December 8 in Plano where he was asked about the change in withdrawal patterns to avoid reporting requirements and whether he was being extorted by an individual.
When questioned about the withdrawals Hastert told FBI agents that he did not feel safe with money in the banking system, saying, “I kept the cash. That’s what I’m doing.”
Hastert, 73, will be arraigned in U.S. District Court in Chicago at a date to be determined.