Before we get into this, let me voice my opinion that the Currency Transaction Report (CTR) law is ridiculous; Hastert should be able to spend his money on whatever he wants, when he wants, and in the quantities he wants.
The fact that our government restricts transactions over $10,000, or any amount for that matter, makes me want to scream Run Logan, Run!
In a quick review: Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was indicted on charges of “Structuring” financial transactions, which means he was withdrawing and spending money in sub-increments of less than $10,000 in order to hide larger transactions for which he was required to report.
The federal government requires everyone to file a report explaining what you intend to do with any cash amount you withdraw from an account in excess of $10,000. They say they do this to thwart criminal activity, but it isn’t really working and turns out to be a simple way to keep an eye on you.
What Hastert did wrong was structure his withdrawals, and then lie to the Feds when they asked him about why he was doing such a thing. What this brought out of the woodwork is that Hastert was paying hush-money to someone referred to as “Individual A”.
We can safely assume that “Individual A” had some kind of experience with Hastert that was so completely damaging that he was able to command a $3.5 million dollar payday for simply keeping it under the covers. -Pardon the pun.
So, the facts are these:
- Hastert structured financial transactions, which is illegal.
- Hastert lied to the feds, which is also illegal.
- Hastert was structuring in order to hide the fact that he was paying hush-money to someone.
- Whatever it was that Hastert did with that someone was worth $3.5 million buckaroos.
- There is no doubt that something worth $3.5 million was very, very, very ^10 bad.
- Probably a compounding combination of immoral, illegal, and just plain wrong.
And, while I’ve been a bit shocked to see even a little bit of criticism from the left after so many of our Liberal leaders have found themselves in similar sexually embarrassing circumstances, there seems to be no getting around the fact that the former Speaker did something shameful and probably illegal.
Though ridiculous, Hastert did break the law, and more importantly, lied about it. He knew better, and got caught. He should have just hired the guy as a consultant.
At the high-ticket price of 3.5 million, there is no way the ‘incident’ isn’t something fairly immoral, illegal, and generally all things career-damaging. It is too bad it came to light after his apparent attempt at making amends and perhaps some repenting, but the bottom line is that he clearly did a very bad thing, and his credibility and reputation will rightfully suffer.
Now that the shit has hit the fan, I can’t imagine “Individual A” doesn’t get dragged into the fray, too. I can think of several problems for which that person will be scrutinized, most of which will involve a generous serving of prison time and a side helping of unwanted exposure.
For starters, every gumshoe in town is looking for this person and it’s only a matter of minutes before some sleuthing newsie makes the grade.
The feds will certainly review their interest in whether there was extortion involved, an option Hastert may want to dig up in his own defense (“I was the victim” is an age-old favorite in the courts). I am certain, too, there will be some looking into whether the $1.7 million or so that was already paid was lawfully divided with Uncle Sam; that could make for some interesting sentencing for a person who probably thought they had a free ride under their hat.
Though some are quick to jump, I’m not sure we can blame the Dems for this folly. Sure, someone may have greased the skids or pointed a finger, but this simply adds up to a compounding succession of bad decisions on the part of Hastert.