Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) was indicted in Chicago on May 28 for lying to FBI agents about his cash withdrawals from his various bank accounts.
Hastert withdrew the money, allegedly beginning in 2010, to pay an individual described only as “Individual A” in the federal indictment as blackmail over “prior misconduct” on the part of Hastert. The Chicago Tribune only referred to the blackmail as “Dennis Hastert’s dark secret,” but northern Illinois was abuzz with credible rumors that dark secret had something to do with Hastert’s earlier years as a wrestling coach for boys at Yorkville High School outside of Chicago.
The indictment indicates that Individual A had something to do with Hastert’s coaching years because it begins, “from approximately 1965 to 1981, defendant JOHN DENNIS HASTERT was a high school teacher and coach in Yorkville, Illinois.” The indictment also states that from 2010 Hastert paid Individual A, who is said to be from Yorkville, a total of $3.5 million to “compensate for and conceal (Hastert’s) prior misconduct” with the unnamed person from Hastert’s past. There is no mention of his having been blackmailed as a result of his activities as Speaker. Since leaving Congress in 2007, Hastert has been a lobbyist for the Washington law firm of Dickstein Shapiro.
Hastert was charged with one count of structuring currency transactions — withdrawing cash in increments of just under $10,000 — to avoid mandatory federal currency transaction reporting requirements by his banks and one count of making a false statement to the FBI. Hastert began paying the blackmail, from June 2010 to April 2012, by making 15 withdrawals of $50,000. He then began withdrawing just under the $10,000 reporting threshold. Hastert lied to the FBI by claiming the withdrawals were because the former Speaker and third in line to the presidency of the United States, lost faith in the U.S. banking system.
Hastert met with the individual in question, believed to be a male, several times in 2010 and agreed to pay him $3.5 million to prevent the person from going public with Hastert’s past wrongdoing.
In 2006, WMR scooped the Washington media by reporting that Hastert was involved with the cover-up of a major sex scandal involving Republican congressmen and underage male pages.
WMR led off its reporting on Hastert with this September 30, 2006 report:
“Congressional sources told WMR that Hastert, while working from 1964 to 1980 as a popular history/government teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School, in Yorkville, Illinois — a suburb of Chicago — was the subject of persistent rumors about inappropriate contact with male members of his high school wrestling team. The culture of the times usually resulted in such alleged behavior being covered up by public and parochial school authorities. However, the rumors were enough for his Yorkville constituency to reject him when he ran for an open seat in the Illinois House of Representatives in 1980. However, Hastert lucked out when another sitting Republican House member who represented the three-seat district had a stroke and declined to run for re-election. The GOP machine bosses selected Hastert as the replacement candidate.
Hastert served in Springfield from 1980 to 1986, six years to make the transformation from wrestling coach with a cloud surrounding himself to politician. In 1986, Hastert received an unexpected promotion. After incumbent Republican Rep. John Grotberg was nominated by the GOP for a second term, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and fell into a coma. The Illinois Republican Convention selected Hastert as the replacement on the ticket, a virtual election to the U.S. House of Representatives in the strongly Republican district.
In 1989, when the allegations of homosexuality among GOP congressmen arose during the first ‘Pagegate”‘ scandal [the so-called “Franklin cover-up], Hastert’s name was one of those whispered. In 1995, Hastert became Chief Deputy Whip under now-disgraced GOP Majority Whip Tom DeLay. Hastert would luck out again. In late 1989, amid scandal, House Speaker Newt Gingrich resigned. After Louisiana Rep. Bob Livingston was elected as Speaker by the GOP House Caucus, he too resigned after admitting to an extramarital affair — an amazing development since the House had impeached President Bill Clinton for lying about his own extramarital affair. Hastert, without much scrutiny, emerged as the compromise candidate for Speaker, after the GOP deadlocked on Majority Leader Dick Armey (also the subject of various rumors after he called Barney Frank, “Barney Fag”) and Majority Whip DeLay.
Now Hastert is fending off allegations that he knew about the page problem with Mark Foley for 11 months and refrained from taking any action. It is also noteworthy that the Chairman of the House Page Board is Republican Rep. John Shimkus, a close ally of Hastert’s from Illinois. Allegations of cover-up are also surrounding Louisiana GOP Rep. Rodney Alexander, the sponsor of the 16-year old Louisiana page to whom Foley sent messages concerning masturbation and erections, and New York Republican Rep. Tom Reynolds, the chairman of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. Both representatives stand accused of covering up Foley’s activities for as long as 11 months.
And the Pagegate scandal threatens to turn into a tsunami that could sweep a number of GOP congressmen from office on November 7. Jeffrey Ray Nielsen, a Christian fundamentalist activist lawyer who was a legislative aide for California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and a close associate of Orange County GOP chairman Scott Baugh, has been charged by Orange County, California police with repeatedly engaging in sex with a 14-year old Westminster, California high school freshman male in 2003 and amassing a large amount of child pornography in his Ladera Ranch condo. Nielsen, an attorney for Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, also reportedly engaged in sexual activities from 1994 to 1995 with a northern Virginia boy, who was 13 and 14 at the time. Nielsen, at the time, was a legislative assistant to Rohrabacher. Prosecutors in Orange County have been accused of dragging their feet on the Nielsen case — charges that involve political pressure from the GOP.”
On October 2, 2006, we reported:
“In August 2004, the GOP House leadership, which included Speaker Dennis Hastert, then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and Majority Whip Roy Blunt, took no action against Republican Rep. Mark Foley of Florida for his repeated salacious contact by email with underage male teens even though a heterosexually-married Republican congressman resigned over trolling gay web sites for ‘younger men.’ In August 2004, one-term Republican Rep. Ed Schrock of Virginia resigned after it became public that he was surfing gay and dating web sites in search of younger men for sex. Schrock, a political ally of his Virginia Beach constituent TV evangelist Pat Robertson and a retired U.S. Navy Captain, resigned after he was outed by a Washington, DC web site.
However, rather than dealing with Foley’s sexual habits on the Web, the GOP leadership sank deeper into cover-up mode, burying the Foley matter lest it shine a light on other GOP gay hypocrites in Congress whose anti-gay agenda would embarrass the party a few months before a critical presidential and congressional election.
It is now being reported that the House Page Board chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) actually enabled Foley to meet an underage pages for dinner dates after the House GOP leadership were aware of Foley’s inappropriate communications with the teens.”
Our report continued: “The House GOP leadership that now stands accused of covering up the scandal includes the GOP members of the House Page Board, Representatives John Shimkus of Illinois and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia; House Speaker Dennis Hastert; Majority Leader John Boehner; Majority Whip Roy Blunt; and National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Tom Reynolds, who reportedly received $100,000 from Foley campaign coffers after he was first informed of the allegations against the Florida Republican.” Capito and Blunt have since been elected U.S. senators. Boehner is the current House Speaker.
The conservative Washington Times, which broke the underage prostitute scandal surrounding the Franklin Credit Union in Nebraska and the Reagan and Bush administrations in the late 1980s, called on Hastert to resign over the “Pagegate” scandal involving Foley and the other GOP House members.
On October 4, 2006, the St. Petersburg Times (now the Tampa Bay Times) reported on the knowledge of top Florida Republicans, including Governor Jeb Bush and Attorney General Charlie Crist, about the Foley-Hastert scandal in Washington: “In a gaggle with Florida’s Capital Press Corps Wednesday, Gov. Jeb Bush flatly refuted allegations posted on an Internet website and circulated widely Tuesday that claims Bush, Attorney General Charlie Crist and Florida Department of Law Enforcement were all told by the federal justice department about Mark Foley’s e-mails a year ago but covered it up. The alleged conspiracy, sourced to ‘informed sources in Tallahassee’ who were not named, was reported on the Wayne Madsen Report website. Madsen’s website claims to tackle ‘the ‘politically incorrect’ and ‘politically embarrassing’ stories and holds government officials accountable for their actions.'”
Bush, who is now a candidate for president, responded to a question from the St. Petersburg Times reporter in Tallahassee about the WMR report: “If the next governor . . . is going to have to respond to every blog and every tired little anonymous person who has some bitter part in their soul who wants to express it on the Internet, it’s not going to work.'” Bush was referring to Crist who was running as the GOP candidate for governor of Florida. Crist and Foley roomed together in Tallahassee when both were members of the state legislature.
On October 7, 2006, WMR dropped the big bombshell on Hastert: “The rumors about another top GOP member of the House being involved in sexual encounters with young “men for hire” are confirmed to WMR by well-placed sources in Washington’s gay community. The member in question is House Speaker Dennis Hastert, whose “alternate” life style is the primary reason for him and his staff covering up the scandal involving ex-Florida GOP Rep. Mark Foley and his lewd messages sent to underage male congressional pages. Hastert’s penchant to receive anal sex is well-known to our sources in DC’s gay community.” In addition, WMR reported on old charges that swirled around Hastert when he was a high school wrestling coach at Yorkville High School in Yorkville, Illinois. Hastert decided to enter politics in 1980 after rumors surfaced about inappropriate contact with male high school students. It is apparent that one of those students has now surfaced as the FBI’s “Individual A.”
Our October 7, 2006 report continued: “In July , Hastert was hospitalized at Bethesda Naval Hospital for cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection. In the Feb. 7, 2003 issue of AIDS Treatment News, doctors reported that they saw ‘a large increase in aggressive, antibiotic-resistant ‘staph’ (Staphylococcus aureus) skin infections in gay men in some areas — and a separate epidemic in certain prisons. Symptoms include boils or blisters; treatment can be difficult, and sometimes requires hospitalization. One HIV doctor in Los Angeles who used to see about one case a year is now seeing two a week. In the past this infection occurred mainly in hospitals.’ The reports of serious skin infections among gay men was also reported in the Los Angeles Times on Jan. 27, 2003.”
WMR had another report on Hastert on October 9, 2006:
“There is also much focus on the relationship between House Speaker Dennis Hastert and his chief of staff, 56-year old Scott Palmer. Hastert and Palmer, Hastert’s longtime unmarried adviser, live together in a DC townhouse along with Hastert’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Mike Stokke, while Hastert’s wife Jean lives in Yorkville, Illinois and stays at a hotel when she visits Washington. [Mrs. Hastert even stayed at a hotel, instead of her husband’s townhouse, when she traveled to Washington on Valentine’s Day in 2007].
WMR has also learned of additional Senate links to the Pagegate scandal. There is much focus on GOP Sen. George Allen’s predominantly white male staff. There is also interest in the activities of a senior GOP Senator from a Rocky Mountain state. [That senator turned out to be Larry Craig (R-ID) who resigned in 2009 after he was arrested for trying to engage in homosexual activity with an undercover vice cop in a men’s room at Minneapolis International Airport].
WMR’s State Department sources have also reported that the visits of Hastert and other congressional leaders and staff members to certain Southeast Asian nations and the Northern Marianas should come under the scrutiny of the House Ethics Committee, now officially investigating ‘Pagegate.’ The Northern Marianas became infamous in the scandals involving Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff because of the presence in the US slave labor territory of Asian children being used as prostitutes. Conveniently, Foley co-chaired the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, which would have had authority to investigate charges of child prostitution in the Northern Marianas. Hastert visited Vietnam, along with Palmer, in April of this year and spent three days in the country. Hastert, along with Illinois GOP Rep. Ray LaHood, canceled a visit to Thailand and Vietnam in January 2006. Hastert was also in Thailand in January 2002.”
On October 11, 2006, WMR reported on Hastert’s other brush with “hush money”:
“Yesterday, WMR reported on the contributions from Dennis Hastert’s political action committee — KOMPAC — [which paid Hastert’s Chief of Staff Scott Palmer for services] — to several GOP House members and candidates’ campaign coffers. FEC records also show that another closeted gay GOP Representative’s PAC made contributions to many of the same Republican candidates who received support from KOMPAC. Apparently, the GOP’s ‘Velvet Mafia’ has done a very good job of spreading around its ‘hush money’ to GOP House members and candidates.”
WMR also reported on the underage sex scandal involving the one-time chairman of the House Page Board, the openly-gay GOP Representative Jim Kolbe from Arizona: “Kolbe is under investigation by both the House Ethics Committee and the Justice Department for alleged inappropriate contact with two male pages during a July 4, 1996 camping trip to the Grand Canyon.” We also reported: “Republican Rep. Jerry Weller of Illinois, who is married to the daughter of Guatemalan ex-dictator (and fundamentalist Christian) Gen. Efrain Rios Montt, is rumored to have conducted an illicit affair with a 16-year old female page.”
Our in-depth reporting on Hastert and “Page-gate” and the pederasts within the GOP received a harsh reaction in the DC media. Wonkette, a blog then written by the current reporter for The Guardian newspaper Ana Marie Cox, wrote this about our reporting: “The problem is, Wayne Madsen just makes shit up. We hear from well-placed sources that no one is having sex with Dennis Hastert. Scott Palmer may be remarkably close to his boss, but he’s not blind.” Cox, whose Wonkette reports contained a number of unusual references to anal sex, earned the nickname, “Anal Marie Cox.” By attacking the messenger, Cox, like so many of her fellow whitewashers in journalism, was rewarded with her present gigs at The Guardian and GQ magazine.
WMR stands vindicated by the federal indictment of Mr. Hastert.
This article originally appeared at Wayne Madsen Report.com.