Former House Speaker Hastert Indicted In Probe Into $3.5M In Withdrawals
Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was indicted today by a federal grand jury in Chicago. The 73-year-old Illinois Republican is charged with trying to evade cash withdrawal requirements, and with lying to the FBI about it.
According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million to a person identified only as "Individual A," "in order to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct against Individual A." The indictment charges that Hastert began withdrawing money from various bank accounts, and that beginning in approximately July 2012 he started structuring those withdrawals in increments of less than $10,000 to evade currency transaction requirements that withdrawals of $10,000 or more be reported.
The indictment says that, when questioned in December 2014 about the withdrawals, Hastert falsely stated he was keeping the cash.
If convicted Hastert could face five-year prison terms for each of the two counts, and fines of up to $500,000.
Hastert served eight years as speaker, and just over 20 as a member of the House, representing a suburban Chicago district. He was a former high school teacher and wrestling coach.
He took the speaker's gavel after Newt Gingrich stepped down following party losses in the 1998 Congressional elections, and after GOP leader's first choice to replace him, Republican Congressman Bob Livingston of Louisiana, stepped aside after revelations of extramarital affairs.
Hastert resigned from Congress in 2007 and has been serving as a lobbyist since then.
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.