Swamp Thing

Former Speaker Dennis Hastert

Former Speaker Dennis Hastert

Is there a single politician from Illinois that isn’t completely and utterly corrupt?

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert accused of hiding sex abuse of former student

J. Dennis Hastert stumbled into political power amid a Republican sex scandal in 1998 that unexpectedly elevated the husky Illinoisan to a position just two heartbeats away from the presidency.

He became the longest-serving Republican House speaker in U.S. history, but remained so proud of his days as a small-town high school teacher and wrestling coach that he relished the Capitol Hill nickname “Coach.”

But this week those once-idolized small-town roots caught up with the 73-year-old Hastert, who in recent years has worked behind the scenes as a Washington power broker.

On Friday, federal law enforcement officials said Hastert had paid $1.7 million over the last four years to conceal sexual abuse against a former male student he knew during his days as a teacher in Yorkville, Ill., where Hastert worked until 1981.


It was another sex scandal that led to Hastert’s improbable rise to become House speaker.

He was plucked from a junior GOP leadership position in December 1998 after Republicans ousted former Speaker Newt Gingrich following a poor midterm election showing and then Gingrich’s presumed successor, Rep. Bob Livingston of Louisiana, admitted to an extramarital affair and turned down the post.

In chaos and division, the party turned to a pragmatic, no-drama Midwesterner who was believed to have nothing to hide: J. Dennis Hastert.

Dubbed the “Accidental Speaker,” he dealt with the passage of President George W. Bush’s tax cuts and the expansion of Medicare to include prescription drugs. In the aftermath of Sept. 11, he oversaw efforts to get money to New York and negotiate the Patriot Act.

Hastert left Congress in 2007, after Democrats had assumed the majority in the 2006 midterm election. Six months later, Dickstein Shapiro announced he was joining its team as a senior advisor, though he had to wait to become a lobbyist because of a federally mandated cooling-off period.

Yorkville isn’t in Chicago, but you can smell the shit from there. It doesn’t show on the map but there is a river of sleaze connecting Illinois to a much nastier swamp on the Potomac. Sweaty Denny Hastert is just another swamp thing.

It is convenient these days to blame George Bush and the war in Iraq for all the woes of the GOP but Dennis Hastert reminds us that the old GOP Congress was corrupt too. How else do you explain a former high school wrestling coach getting rich on a congressman’s salary?

Hastert’s ability to make such large cash payments probably came from his career as a K Street lobbyist. He entered Congress in 1987 with a net worth of no more than $270,000 and then exited worth somewhere between $4 million and $17 million, according to congressional disclosure documents. Much of his wealth, however, was tied up in real estate holdings.

Since Hastert became a lobbyist, his clients have paid millions of dollars for his services.

It’s prolly just a coinky-dink that those real estate holdings dramatically increased in value because of the new $200 million federal highway that runs right next to them. Then there was the Mark Foley scandal:

Hastert was the longest-serving Republican House speaker in history when he retired after the 2006 elections. That year, he and other Republicans were embroiled in a major congressional scandal. Then-Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) resigned in September 2006 after it was revealed he sent sexually explicit instant messages and emails to male congressional pages.

The Republican leadership’s handling of the scandal, with Hastert at the helm, played a key role in that year’s midterm elections, when the GOP sustained a major shellacking and was forced to hand over control of the House to Democrats, after dominating it since 1994.

To be sure, the GOP was also dogged by an unpopular president waging a deeply controversial war. But Hastert and other GOP congressional leaders were implicated in the Foley scandal when it was revealed that they knew about the emails in late 2005, months before the scandal made headlines in September 2006. Additionally, they allowed Foley to serve as chair of a congressional caucus on missing and exploited children, right up until he resigned from Congress. Foley had also been a major proponent of anti-gay legislation.

Hastert’s office initially claimed that he first heard about the scandal when former congressional pages leaked the emails to ABC News and The Washington Post, breaking the story wide open. Shortly after that, he backtracked, releasing a statement admitting that he had known about Foley’s inappropriate behavior since that spring and that several congressional leaders had alerted him and his staff to the emails.

The revelations pointed to a potential cover-up. Subsequent reporting found that Republican top brass warned Foley of the consequences of his behavior and tried to intervene in the months leading up to his resignation.

It began with Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-La.), who learned of the emails because Foley had been corresponding with one of Alexander’s pages. Alexander reported the correspondence to Rep. Thomas Reynolds (R-N.Y.), chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, as well as then-House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio). They quickly informed Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), who oversaw the House page program. Shimkus confronted Foley and ordered him to stop all communication with the pages.

Boehner and Reynolds then warned several of Hastert’s aides, including Hastert’s floor assistant, deputy chief of staff, and in-house counsel. Both congressmen also claimed they spoke directly to Hastert about the situation, with Boehner saying that Hastert responded that it “had been taken care of.” Hastert denied the conversations.

A House Ethics Committee investigation ultimately concluded that Hastert was “willfully ignorant” in handling the revelations, and the Foley scandal cast a dark cloud over his final days in office.

That whole mess looks a little different now, doesn’t it?

But wait! There’s more!

Former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds is accusing the FBI of covering up improper contacts and financial dealings between certain Turkish nationals and the office of House Speaker Dennis Hastert.


Vanity Fair alleges that Hastert may have been the recipient of tens of thousands of dollars of secret payments from Turkish officials in exchange for political favors and information.

Remember that bit about Hastert going to work for Dickstain Shapiro? They do lobbying for Turkey.

Barack Obama is the reason I am no longer a Democrat. But sleazebags like Denny Hastert are the reason I don’t want to be a Republican either.

We need to drain the swamp.

sweaty Denny


About Myiq2xu™

"If you hit an artery, somebody can bleed out in two minutes."
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99 Responses to Swamp Thing

  1. Jeffhas says:

    Well… In defense of (some) republicans… THEN came the Tea Party… When R’s lost the House, White House, etc., it wasn’t just Foley, Hastert, Delay, etc – there was a wholesale housecleaning and demand for cleaner operators… Of course many of the cockroaches just scurried to the darkness of K street. I do think the (later) rise of the Tea Party has done much to hold R’s responsible to keep clean or else – but I still smell cesspool, it’s just hard to smell over the Government-Run Unionized Sh*t Factory that is known as the Obama Democrat Party – those rotting corpse poltergeists are overwhelming the eau de swamp Republicans.

    What a divine set of choices we have.

    • DeniseVB says:

      Almost half the TP’s demographics were independents and Dems, they had to be destroyed too. It’s how I figured out the Obama Dems and GOPE were just one big happy duopoly who really couldn’t care less about We The People.

    • 1539days says:

      Sadly, the GOPE allowed the IRS to destroy the funding base for the Tea Party in 2012. You can’t tell me that insiders couldn’t figure out that none of those groups were able to take donations during the presidential campaign. They wanted to make sure only Mitt Romney had enough money to get the nomination. That worked out well.
      Republicans still haven’t learned.

  2. Jadzia says:

    Of course he’s totally corrupt. But that’s not what he’s being charged with. I wouldn’t have any problem with this if they charged him with corruption or sex abuse or anything that actually is, you know, wrong. Charging him with structuring just makes it seem like they dug and dug to find prosecutable evidence of SOMETHING, you know? And structuring is a ridiculous law–I can’t get arrested for going 59 in a 60 zone on the grounds that I was only going 59 to avoid going 60. I can’t recall if I posted this earlier or not, but I think it’s a good intro to the structuring law and its potential for abuse of people who (like pretty much anybody on the planet) are way more sympathetic than Denny: http://popehat.com/2015/05/29/dennis-hastert-and-federal-prosecutorial-power/

    • 1539days says:

      I get where you’re coming from, but to structure $1.7 million, Hastert had to take out $9,000+ in almost 200 separate transactions. A good allegory would be grand theft. Police put more resources into robberies of $10,000 or more. Smart thieves know to steal $9,000 worth of stuff to make it petty theft instead. Statistical modeling by police departments showed that they needed to go after the robberies just under 10K as well.

      Giuliani went after the squeegee guys because they were part of a larger culture of crime in NYC.

      • Jadzia says:

        I see what you’re saying too, but I really, really question the concept of a law that is designed to provide such, well, limitless prosecutorial discretion.

        In federal tax class in law school, my professor used to always tell us that tax evasion was illegal, but tax avoidance was not. That was a distinction that always made sense to me. Slippery slope arguments are overused I know, but today it’s “That $9500 transaction is suspicious,” then tomorrow it’s $8500 that is the new unofficial limit, then $7500 and so on. First it’s, “Well, you clustered ten of them in a month,” then it’s 8, then it’s 5, and so on.

        I’m reading about cases of people charged with structuring where the deposits were as low as $3500. (For example, http://www.fincen.gov/law_enforcement/ss/html/Issue13-story3.html.) That just seems like an AWFULLY wide net that drags in a lot of people for no real good reason, and all of a sudden we are not even PRETENDING that anybody has any financial privacy anymore.

        • Myiq2xu says:

          There should have to be some underlying crime, like tax evasion. If Hastert withdrew all the money at once to pay off his blackmailer/victim he would have triggered mandatory reporting but there would have been no crime because paying extortion is not illegal.

          The same goes for lying to the FBI – if you deny something just because you are ashamed to tell the truth that shouldn’t be a crime.

          People might be more willing to tell the truth if they knew it wasn’t going to get illegally leaked to the media. Where is the investigation/prosecution for that?

          What about the blackmailer/victim? Extortion is a crime. Did he report the income and pay taxes on it?

          • This is what I am not getting either. Why was he even paying other than shame? Statute of limitaions expired a long time ago. And paying isn’t a crime, but asking for payment to obscure something is.

        • 1539days says:

          The problem is the same as the NSA data mining. It is so easy for computers to suck in every financial transaction everywhere. Instead of an investigator, some algorithm is deciding what is suspicious.

          Then you have the IRS using old fashioned human interaction to look at a bunch of 501(C) groups and stonewalling any one that had “patriot” in the name.

  3. leslie says:

    Yesterday 1539days said the Hastert news was being used to cover up some Friday night dump the bronco administration didn’t want noticed. I still wonder what that was. If investigation of Hastert’s “structuring” abuse had been ongoing, then these charges could have been leveled any time. why now? IS it because Iraq is falling or maybe has already fallen to ISIS? What’s going on here that merits a smoke screen? Are the Dems finding themselves too deep in a hole for the 2016 elections? (that’s so far away, though.) As my youngest daughter used to say every time we drove through a tunnel, “What’s going on here?” I agree there is nothing happenstance about the timing of this news.

    • piper says:

      Shifts the news from Billy Bob and his numerous sexual indulgences to those uptight naughty Repubs.
      Wondering what the statue of limitations for sexual abuse is in my southern neighbor state.

      • piper says:

        Gov Quinn signs bill,
        “The bill removes the statute of limitations for child sex abuse that occurs on or after January 1, 2014. The legislation is not retroactive; survivors are subject to the law that was in place at the time of their abuse. Similar legislation, Senate Bill 1399, also passed this session, removing the civil statute of limitations for sex offenses that occurred when the victim was under 18 years old.”
        More at link:

        • leslie says:

          If I recall correctly (IIRC), the victims of abuse by priests were very upset and SNAP (their support and lobbying organization) were outraged by this law.

  4. Dora says:

    No Time for Hillary Scandals ­ Because Every Reporter Everywhere Is Covering the Dennis Hastert Indictment


  5. piper says:

    Found this on Diogenes Middle Finger’s site so I did the only bad thing and stole it.

  6. piper says:

    Have to fix casement windows today so I’ll be gone for a while.

    Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez http://t.co/3yrzzrLkes— Piper (@MerlinBichon) May 30, 2015

    • leslie says:

      It’s similar to what I said yesterday, only it’s my own thought… I have a hunch that no one with any real power in DC is going to move forward or help move the investigation of Benghazi forward because #blackmail. And it isn’t Obama who had the info – he’s too lazy to do the work. But he is likely using whatever damaging stuff that’s been spoon fed him in order to twist the arms (and necks) of each long-term Congress creature to do it “his” way. Congress is corrupt through and through. And the Tea Party members will get no where until some of those creatures of slime are removed from office. (Like the Ramirez cartoon, Piper linked to, but it isn’t limited to the Clintons. It’s anyone who’s been there for a long time.)

    • foxyladi14 says:

      Yes!!!! 👿

    • 49erDweet says:

      To ask the question provides the answer.

  7. DeniseVB says:

    True story 😉

  8. 1539days says:

    I feel so bad for Hastert’s victim who was extorting him for years.

  9. HELENK3 says:


    this is from Oct 2006. how Hastert got his money

  10. driguana says:

    My brother and his family live in Yorkville. They’ve lived there for a long time. I’ll dig for some good info.

    • Jadzia says:

      My sister was once engaged to Denny’s son! My mom must be spinning in her grave; she really liked them, and she was never ANY kind of a Republican.

  11. piper says:

    All the rain we had in the past month has affected certain people’s thinking. Cause actually spouts nonsense that Michelle could beat Scott Walker to become the first woman president.
    It’s too early to start drinking and banging my hands on defective casement windows isn’t rewarding. Time to seriously consider new windows.

  12. DeniseVB says:

    Yep, this………………….

    • Somebody says:


      I just don’t what it will take for the masses to figure it out. They’re all corrupt bastards and in my opinion neither party gives a flying shit about we the people, so how do we fix that? Most people are stuck in the false paradigm of dems vs reps or left vs right. There is a LOT of money spent on a regular basis to keep them in that paradigm. I wish we could figure out a way to sort of pull back the curtain like in the Wizard of Oz.

      • DeniseVB says:

        The Tea Party tried, but as Days mentioned above, the GOPE was complicit in letting the IRS slow them down, and finally shut them up.

        • 1539days says:

          By 2014, they had pretty much co-opted the movement. They didn’t want Joni Ernst to win her primary, but when she did, they got her media training to say the right things.

          • DeniseVB says:

            Tea Party wasn’t very organized in ’09, but thousands showed up at local rallies while the media ignored them. Then hundreds of thousands showed up on the National Mall and then someone thought herding cats was a good idea (nee: Freedomworks), then it kinda lost spunk with the IRS cracking down on housewives organizing local chapters as non-profits so they could raise money to pay the fees to hold rallies in their cities and towns. (In the meantime OWS was squatting wherever the hell they wanted, no problems, no pesky fees). See where this is going? TP’s need to go back to their birth roots. “Hey kids, let’s have a rally” roots. Vintage TP…….Rise Up ….

  13. DeniseVB says:

    O’Malley to announce his candidacy any minute now in Baltimore. I have it on Fox, I’m sure it’s elsewhere too.

    Two things to remember 1) If he slams Hillary, he’s running for President. 2) If he slams the GOPs, he’s running for Vice President. Apply #1 and #2 throughout the pre-primary stages of the Dem campaigns 😀

  14. DeniseVB says:

    He just took the stage. Big enthusiastic crowd. Nice opening, bill of rights and stuff.

  15. foxyladi14 says:

    Politicians and Bananas.
    First Green then Yellow lastly Rotten!!!! 😡

  16. Dora says:

    The article calls this “Sharptonism”. I think that’s an accurate definition.

    NYC Black Leaders Want to Replace Mayor Bill de Blasio w/More Left-Wing Pol

  17. HELENK3 says:


    is this KARMA? Hastert tripped up by Patriot act he helped pass.
    it is just about to expire

  18. Myiq2xu says:

  19. Myiq2xu says:

    I am shocked, SHOCKED! The Bourbon You Are Drinking Might Not Be What You Think:

  20. DeniseVB says:

    None of the ladies taking the Army Rangers course passed. I guess we have to lower the standards now? Great fighting force you’re building there Obama !


    • SHV says:

      A potential advantage of trying to get women into infantry units is forcing the military to lighten the “loadout” that soldiers carry. Soldiers carry 60 to 130 pounds, not including the weight of body armor, etc. Women can’t do it no matter how much they reduce the “standards”.

      • DeniseVB says:

        Why are no ladies trying to break the glass ceiling of the NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB ? Leave my national security alone ! There are plenty of fine career paths for women in the military, just not on the battlefield. My mom was a Marine during WW2.

      • 1539days says:

        But that’s a separate issue. Less gear is good, but less necessary gear is not. A female soldier may have slightly less to carry in terms of body armor or clothing, Still, the weight limit should be based on required loads, not the maximum capabilities of female soldiers.

        • SHV says:

          The military is having a difficult time getting the current sedentary males of military age into physical condition capable of combat. During the active fighting in Afghanistan, the majority of evacuations from theater were for bone fractures, joint strains, “blown” knees, etc and, IIRC, x4 for female soldiers who can’t develop the muscle structure needed to cushion shock to bones and joints. Time for powered exo-skeletons for soldiers.

  21. Dora says:

    I can probably think of more than 5 reasons myself.

    Five reasons why the Dennis Hastert scandal disgusts me

  22. Dora says:

    Move over Bernie and Martin.

    Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island to Announce Presidential Bid


    • DeniseVB says:

      Good ! Hope Jim Webb jumps in too. So far, he’s the most normal of the bunch, but he doesn’t play well in politics. (And yes, I’m hoping for a viable alternative on the left in case the GOPE blows it again, sigh)

      • 1539days says:

        I think every US citizen over 35 should be automatically registered as a presidential candidate. Then we can just vote for the most popular in a huge jungle primary.

        On the plus side, Justin Bieber is not qualified because he’s Canadian.

  23. DeniseVB says:

    This is really an enjoyable photojournalism tour of the new Freedom Tower Observatory that opened yesterday. Also, I’m saving you $32 🙂


  24. Myiq2xu says:

    I have real outlaw neighbors. Up around the corner I saw a house with a sprinkler going full blast at high noon. It’s Saturday which is a no watering day.

    I act sneaky like a felon when I water on the wrong day and/or time. I keep the sprinklers low and only do it in the back yard.

  25. threewickets says:

    “Hi Denny. You remember me from Yorkville?” is the new “I will not be ignored!” Very spooky.

  26. 49erDweet says:

    OT. LOL Wm Briggs recently wrote: “Is there any field in which the egos of its indigenous populants outstrips ability to such a degree as journalism?” My honey looked me dumbfounded the other night and asked: “What is wrong with CNN”? They had just sent her a ‘breaking news’ flash that THERE HAD BEEN A TIE FOR FIRST PLACE IN THE NATIONAL SPELLING BEE!
    i could barely sleep after that.

  27. Dora says:

    Legal Experts Have Bad News for Bill & Hillary… Issue Devastating Accusation of Major Crime


  28. Myiq2xu says:

    • DeniseVB says:

      Loving the O’Malley memes! He’s still better than Hills. (Yes, I’m taking notes on the left too 😉 )

      I think it was I show I caught on Fox with Ben Stein about President’s IQ’s and the Ivies and the smarties…..doesn’t matter how smart the President is, as long as s/he picks smarter people for his staff and cabinet. Made sense to me. 😀

  29. leslie says:

    OT ~ Hockey game is awesome tonite. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything as exciting as game 6, though.

  30. DeniseVB says:

    Well F**K, Beau Biden died today 😦 Not the way I wanted to end a Sat night, R.I.P. Beau, thoughts and prayers with your family tonight, via, WaPo….


    • Mt.Laurel says:

      Sympathies to the Biden family. Having lost three of my brothers, two to cancer, I know this has to have been very hard on the.. My mother has not really recovered from the latest loss. I am not sure she ever will. Once parents get to a certain age, they just do not expect to outlive their children.

    • 1539days says:

      The Biden family has seen more than their share of tragedy.

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