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By Hannah Hess
Posted at 6:07 p.m.
May 28, 2015
Updated: 9:28 p.m. | The Justice Department’s indictment of former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert details a sordid tale of the Illinois Republican paying $3.5 million of hush money in small increments to cover up “his past misconduct” and seeking to conceal the acts, including lying to federal agents.
In an indictment handed down in the U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois in February, Hastert, 73, is charged with structuring the withdrawal of $952,000 in cash in increments designed to avoid cash-reporting requirements, and lying to the FBI about his withdrawals. He allegedly told FBI agents in a December interview that he was keeping the cash because he did not feel safe with the banking system.
“Yeah … I kept the cash. That’s what I’m doing,” Hastert told the FBI, the 7-page indictment states.
From approximately 2010 to 2014, Hastert allegedly withdrew $1.7 million in cash from various bank accounts, then handed over the money to “Individual A” every six weeks. The court documents do not make clear what actions Hastert may have been trying to cover up, but do state that the individual had known the former congressman for most of his life.
The documents also state that Hastert worked as a high school teacher and coach prior to becoming an elected official.
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