Last Friday’s Wall Street Journal announced that former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert (R-IL) had been indicted for attempting to evade reporting requirements for bank withdrawals exceeding $10,000 and for lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding those withdrawals. It appeared from the article that Mr. Hastert was withdrawing the money in order to pay for someone’s silence – hush money or blackmail depending on your point of view.
I have to admit that my first reaction was “how in God’s name does President Barack Obama’s administration have the temerity to investigate a Republican leader who has not been in office for over a decade when Mr. Obama cannot even bring himself to open an investigation against the Internal Revenue Service officials who had illegally targeted conservatives or against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who destroyed official records while cleansing her personal computers and servers?”
However, as you continued through the Wall Street Journal’s report there was a hint that Mr. Hastert was paying the hush money for events surrounding sexual activities with a minor during his time as a high school teacher and coach in Yorkville, IL. The Wall Street Journal confirmed that hint in a follow up article on Saturday:
“Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert allegedly agreed to pay a former male student $3.5 million to hush up allegations of sexual misconduct when Mr. Hastert was an Illinois high-school teacher before his election to Congress, said people familiar with the matter.”
The statute of limitations have run on child molestation. Mr. Hastert could not be charged or convicted of that crime. Mr. Hastert could not be charged or convicted of blackmail because he was the victim not the perpetrator. (There is apparently no information on whether the victim of the child molestation has been indicted for a blackmail scheme involving the staggering sum of $3.5 million.) So in lieu of the real crime he committed, Mr. Hastert is charged with two relatively minor crimes – evading reporting requirements of payments over $10,000 and lying to the FBI. Each is a misdemeanor carrying relatively light sentences involving fines and short confinements. There will be no felony convictions, no requirement that he be listed as a sex offender, and no loss of his public pension – somewhere near $400,000 annually.
All of this is reminiscent of Oregon’s former governor Neil Goldschmidt (D) who, while mayor of Portland serially raped a fourteen year old girl over a span of three years. In the aftermath Mr. Goldschmidt made payments to maintain this poor woman’s silence. He destroyed the girl’s life. She suffered enormously and died at the early age of 49 in 2011. In November of 2007 I wrote:
“In the end, the whole thing is just as sleazy as it gets. A former governor raping a fourteen year old girl. Allegations that his body guard, [Sheriff Bernie] Guisto, covered it up while at the same time having an affair with Goldschmidt’s wife. Further allegations that [Gov. Ted] Kulongoski who was running for attorney general at the time knew and remained silent. And if Kulongoski knew, how many other Democrat insiders knew and remained silent. The inner circle of the Democrat party is still run by the alumni of Neil Goldschmidt’s administration. They know each other, went to school with each other, married each other, had affairs with each other, hired each other and in the long run watched out for each other.
“There will never be an end to this until there is a full-blown house cleaning. Until then, expect the sleaze to get deeper and deeper.” [Bracketed words inserted]
Mr. Goldschmidt was never charged or convicted of a crime, never served any time, has never been listed as a sex offender and continues to receive his public pension. Meanwhile, the alumni of his administration, including some that likely knew and remained silent about his nefarious activities hold substantial sway in Oregon’s Democrat Party.
Mr. Hastert and Mr. Goldschmidt share another element. In the aftermath of Mr. Goldschmidt’s forced disclosure of his conduct, it was discovered that The Oregonian had information about these rapes years before and chose to spike instead of pursue the story. In fact, The Oregonian printed Mr. Goldschmidt’s press release as to his reason for resigning from a prominent government position even though it had precisely the same information in hand that Willamette Week used to break the story. When The Oregonian saw the Willamette Week story in its online version, it was forced to revise its already distributed early morning edition and include the disclosure of Mr. Goldschmidt’s serial rapes in subsequent editions. Later, an Oregonian editorial column sought to forgive Mr. Goldschmidt by suggesting that this was, in fact, a love affair. It was enough to gag a maggot.
In Mr. Hastert’s case, the Wall Street Journal, in a side bar by Ashby Jones and Jacob Gershman, seemed to deflect attention by suggesting ulterior motives:
“Yet another question: why federal prosecutors are bringing charges against Mr. Hastert in the first place. Bringing charges related to any allegedly illegal sexual misconduct decades ago, would likely be banned entirely by statutes-of-limitations. And the charges against Mr. Hastert – lying and attempting to avoid money-laundering laws are relatively minor, legal experts say.”
It is bad enough that these politicians have escaped the real consequences of their acts, but the fact that a collaborative media seeks to cover up or minimize their actions is disgusting.