I was never a big fan of Rep. Denny Hastert. The Illinois representative was also Speaker of the House during a period roughly coinciding with the W years. He seemed to me just another Illinois liberal Republican. When in need of political muscle and firepower he’d suddenly talk a lot more conservative than he really was. Then he’d stiff the conservatives who had backed him up.
But he also seemed like a nice guy, most of the other times.
It was something of a surprise today to hear that he was indicted for withdrawing money from his bank account in a manner that the federal government doesn’t like. Believe it or not, that actually is a crime. It shouldn’t be. It’s designed to catch drug dealers and their money launderers but no one is accusing Hastert of drug dealing or money laundering. It just happened to be a handy weapon to get Hastert.
He was also tripped up on lying to the FBI about the withdrawals – similar to a perjury trap. The final disturbing part of this is that the legal activity is coming from that municipal paragon of virtue Chicago. Don’t they already have enough crime in Chicago to keep these people busy rather than running around wondering why Denny Hastert is withdrawing large sums of HIS OWN MONEY?
Having said that – there is something going on with Hastert. It does look like he was paying someone off. Not sure why that is considered a crime – if it doesn’t involve initial criminal behavior – but it apparently is.
I still don’t like criminalizing financial transactions of a certain amount – unless you get the blessing of the feds.