Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was indicted Thursday on federal charges that he lied to the FBI about currency withdrawals he made to pay hush money for “past misconduct” he allegedly committed years ago.
Hastert, now 73, served as Speaker of the House from 1999 to 2007. Since 2008, he has worked as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C.
According to the indictment, in 2010, Hastert met multiple times with a person he knew from his hometown of Yorkville, Ill.
The indictment does not name the individual nor does it provide gender or age details. It merely states that the individual has known Hastert for most of their life. Hastert worked as a high school teacher and wrestling coach in Yorkville from 1965 to 1981.
Hastert and the unnamed individual “discussed past misconduct” that had occurred years before, the indictment reads.
During the meetings, Hastert agreed to pay the individual $3.5 million. Between 2010 and 2014, Hastert shelled out $1.7 million.
Beginning in June 2010, Hastert made 15 withdrawals of $50,000 cash from several banks. But in April 2012, bank officials questioned Hastert about the sizable withdrawals. Federal law requires financial institutions to report withdrawals of $10,000 or greater and to report any suspicious activity.
After the inquiry, Hastert began withdrawing cash in increments less than $10,000.
The activity drew the attention of the FBI and IRS, which in 2013 opened an investigation into whether Hastert was “structuring” the withdrawals to avoid reporting requirements.
According to the indictment, Hastert lied to federal investigators about the purpose of the cash withdrawals. He initially said he withdrew the cash because he did not trust the banking system. He also allegedly lied when he said that he kept the cash himself rather than pay it out as apparent hush money.
“Yeah…I kept the cash. That’s what I’m doing,” he told investigators.
Hastert was charged with two accounts — one for structuring currency transactions to evade currency transaction reports and another for making a false statement to the FBI.