Former House Speaker Charged with Concealing Blackmail Payments

Originally published on May 30, 2015, at

Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was indicted on Thursday for lying to the FBI and attempting to conceal approximately $1.7 million in blackmail payments. After bank employees questioned Hastert about his large cash withdrawals, he began structuring his withdrawals in increments of less than $10,000 to evade filing required federal bank reports. Concerned about Hastert’s excessive cash withdrawals, the FBI and IRS discovered that the former House Speaker was being blackmailed to cover up past misconduct.

First elected to Congress in 1987, Hastert went on to replace Newt Gingrich as House Speaker in 1999. After the Democrats took control of the House in 2006, Hastert resigned his seat the following year. He later joined the law firm Dickstein Shapiro LLP as a lobbyist and has recently resigned from the firm.

According to the indictment, Hastert agreed to provide someone referred to as “Individual A” $3.5 million in order to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct against Individual A. From 2010 to 2014, Hastert withdrew a total of roughly $1.7 million in cash from various bank accounts and provided the money to Individual A. But in April 2012, bank representatives began questioning Hastert regarding his routine $50,000 cash withdrawals.

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