Congress

That Time Dennis Hastert Became Speaker of the House Because He Was Asexual

He was not only an undistinguished leader but a exemplary Republican during the Bush years, when the small-government party lost its way.

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So former Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has been indicted on charges of paying hush money to silence a young man he sexually abused.

Not only did Hastert pay out more than $1 million, reports the Los Angeles Times, but he is up on charges of circumventing various types of financial transaction laws and giving false reports to the FBI. And at least one other victim of "the Coach," who back in the day was a teacher and wrestling coach, has come forward.

This, from a politician who pulled ratings between 90 percent and 100 percent from the American Conservative Union.

In 2004, Hastert published Speaker: Lessons From Forty Years in Coaching and Politics. Reviewing it for Reason, Charles Oliver noted that Hastert became speaker only after a series of sex scandals weakened his immediate predecessors, Newt Gingrich and Bob Livingston, and articles of impeachment were being served up to Bill Clinton for lying about sex:

Hastert never says why Republicans thought he was the "only one" who could lead them. Presumably, we are supposed to believe it was because of his experience and skill. But at the same time the Republican conference was selecting a speaker, the House was voting on articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton. For most of 1998, newspapers and television newscasts had been filled with politicians involved in sex scandals or alleged scandals; Clinton, Gingrich, and Livingston were just the most notable. Hastert admits that voters were growing weary of it all and that it hurt his party. He just doesn't seem to have considered the possibility that his peers elected him because they considered him the House Republican least likely to be having sex.

I'm not sure if the current scandal is irony or karma or what. But before we forget about Hastert forever, it's worth remembering that he was not only an undistinguished leader but a exemplary Republican during the Bush years, when the small-government party lost its way:

Soon after being sworn in, Hastert says he and other House Republicans agreed on four things they needed to do to secure America's future. At the top of the list: Be fiscally responsible and balance the budget. That's one of the last times in the book we hear any talk of balanced budgets.

One can understand why Hastert doesn't want to admit that on his watch federal spending and deficits have skyrocketed. But why did the Republicans fail to achieve their top goal? Hastert offers no answers or even excuses. But a close reading of his autobiography gives us some clues.

From the time Hastert entered government, he has seen his job as cutting deals, passing bills, and getting re-elected. He really seems to come alive when detailing all the arm twisting and deal making behind various pieces of legislation. Thus, when he lists the accomplishments of Congress during his time as speaker, we get laundry lists of bills that have passed. "By substantial margins, we had approved the Do Not Call and Do Not Spam bills aimed at stopping consumers from being harassed through their phones or computer lines," he writes of the 108th Congress. "We passed the Amber alert bill to keep our kids safe from kidnappers, and we okayed spending to combat AIDS at the highest level yet."

When Hastert talks of congressional failures, it always has to do with legislation that didn't pass.

Read the whole story.

It seems like Hastert's last spate of headlines will revolve around his villanous behavior and hypocrisy (he, like a lot of Republicans, make a show of being morally upright characters who disdain homosexuality). That sort of treatment is understandable, but there's also another lesson to be learned from his experience in Congress: Many politicians, even or especially ones who rise to positions of great power, effectively have no principles to keep them moving in the right direction once they gain power.

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  1. (he, like a lot of Republicans, make a show of being morally upright characters who disdain homosexuality

    progressives tell me that pointing out this sort of hypocrisy is an unimportant distraction.

    1. His mistake was in not being a democrat. Look at Barney Frank. His “spouse” worked at freakin’ Fannie Mae! A boyfriend was an escort!

    2. Always interesting to me how Republicans who get caught in sex scandals are “hypocrites”, but Democrats who get caught “forgetting” to pay income taxes are not.

      1. Far more interesting is how stories of Republicans doing horrible things always somehow means nonpartisan libertarian purists have to bitch about Democrats.

        1. Oh jeez, l woke up the troll.

          Sorry guys

          1. I am discussing the subject at hand. You are trolling.

          2. It’s just Tulpa furiously masturbating.

        2. Republicans are mostly horrible fucks.. but interestingly, Ton, I have NEVER FUCKING read you fucking kicking your fucking socialist fuck interests in the ass… man, I like you. But what the fuck is wrong with YOUR party and itsgoddamn failings? Or.. does…it..have…fails?.. ooh

          1. Sure, but we only get two choices. Their failings are significantly fewer.

            1. Raped and bought off kid vs armed trained and funded Isis in order to get foundation donations….

              hmmm….

            2. More gay sex scandals with Repubs, but money scandals? Dems all the way, for the most part. Studies I’ve read have Dems more than 6x more likely to be indicted for public corruption at the Federal level. At the municipal level Dems are elected, indicted 14 x, finally get convicted, serve time, get out, get re-elected.

              Repubs are idiots, but they are boy scouts compared to Dems.

        3. Far more interesting is how stories of Republicans doing horrible things always somehow means nonpartisan libertarian purists have to bitch about Democrats.

          The point, asshole, is that all politicians from whatever party they lay claim to, deserve the same scrutiny.

          You know that, but you’d rather see your precious (D) protected under the banner of LOOK AT THE REPUBLICANS.

          Wrong is wrong. It’s wrong when the Rs do it, and it’s wrong when the Ds do it. If you can’t bring yourself to admit it to spare your team, then fuck you.

          1. Which D fucked kids and when did I defend him?

            1. Gary Studds and you absolutely did defend him at the time because you never criticize leftists.

              1. Sure I do. You’ve not witnessed my ire for Ralph Nader. And that kid was 17. Perfectly legal in my state.

                1. I just read the article. I hadn’t yet done so. But, your stupidity made me look into it. He was being blackmailed by someone who claims he touched him inappropriately.

                  We don’t know the age of the person, we don’t know if it is true. We do know he was being blackmailed and he caved, and is now being charged with illegal withdrawal. The person blackmailing him should be charged, not him.

                  As for his own misconduct, if it happened…Charge him with illegal penetration maybe, but illegal withdrawal? No.

                  I think this story is leaving some parts out.

                  1. +1

                    Don’t like the hypocrisy, but the “abused kid” appears to have been a high school student – what would have been called an adult in almost any pre-modern society – and probably a wrestler to boot. I suspect what happened was consensual at the time, but one party later decided that Hastert was a cash cow.

                    Also don’t like Hastert pushing the drug war, hypocritically voting against gay rights, or passing the very laws that ended up getting him indicted – and generally pissing on the American people; but unless there’s evidence that this incident was clearly not consensual let’s not play the “abuse” card. That is disrespectful to teens who are old enough to make such choices for themselves.

          1. apparently it is a tiny one…

      2. Of course if Republicans didn’t pride themselves on being puritans…they’d take away the Democrat’s claims of hypocrisy.

        1. But they ARE the stupid party…

        2. Demonstrate some of Hastert’s alleged Puritanism. Like actual details not just cosmotarian screeching.

          1. Did I mention Hastert? Did Number 2? I said Republicans…in general…

            Are you retarded?

            1. When Republican ass-raping comes back in style in Washington, the only positive thing will be that hopefully this stupid bullshit will stop for awhile.

              I mean they are almost universally terrible but people still come in here to defend them because hey, they aren’t Democrats!

              Like that makes a difference.+

              1. things that never happen:

                – Unicorns

                – Aliens

                – people still come in here to defend them because hey, they aren’t Democrats!

    3. The article said he inappropriately touched someone decades ago and is now being blackmailed for it. The perp is the blackmailer, not the victim.

      Did he inappropriately touch someone? I guess so. I’ve wrestled. It is all inappropriate touching.

      As to what he did? It isn’t made clear and if they had a case against him for that they should have nailed him on that. But, nailing him for caving into a blackmailer and doing it in small amounts so the black mailer could avoid taxes?

      This is a witchhunt. And, I’d be saying the same thing if it were a dem or repub or a libertarian.

      1. Agreed – a witchhunt, regardless of party.

      2. Agreed – a witchhunt, regardless of party.

  2. Oh Denny, you’ve destroyed my faith in Republicans!

    1. Does that mean you’re ready for Hillary now?

      1. I’m no NiHilist!

  3. Or, you know, it could be a pile-on. Honestly, after the Dread Pirate Roberts decision, I’m inclined to consider him a little less dangerous than the other villain of the piece, the federales.

  4. Normally I would hold off judgment until more accusers came forward, but holy shit. One million dollars? I would have rocked my singlet a little better in high school if I knew my coach would one day be in a position to drop that kind of dough in my lap. (Who am I kidding? I rocked the singlet like nobody else.)

    1. Hastert would have been the ‘dough in your lap’.

      1. Ewwwwww

    2. What’s a singlet in this context?

  5. On the bright side, Hastert FINALLY did something to reduce wasteful government spending:

    Hastert statue shelved at Illinois Capitol

  6. By the way, not sure if anyone noticed the subtle language here:

    Former GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert allegedly made a series of illegally structured bank withdrawals as part of an effort to conceal past sexual misconduct with an unnamed person, a law enforcement official said.

    So, deposits can be pattern-identified as ‘structured’… so can withdrawals?

    America is fucked when you can’t even withdraw money without getting noticed from the feds.

    1. Oh they really want to know when you take it out of the bank. Lest they lose the opportunity to steal it before you spend it.

      1. Or god forbid, hide it.

    2. Yes, that’s the more important point here. Along with, the FBI is allowed to lie to you, but you can’t lie to them.

      This country is quickly becoming a cartoon. A very sad, sick cartoon.

    3. Are you kidding? Of course they want to know if you take a bunch out. You might be doing something with it that they can’t take a piece of!

      I remember years ago a friend of mine had come a across a slightly shady land deal, but the deal was too good to pass up. He was getting a lot of land in his town (something like 100 acres, I think, but I could be misremembering) for a phenomenal price. The sellers, as I said, were a little shady but they just seemed to want to dump the land as fast as possible and then get out of town. He wanted me to come along as a safeguard just in case something went wrong. So we went around to several banks where he had accounts and we took out about $8000 from each one until the sale price was reached, and we specifically did it that way to avoid the feds watching for $10,000 or more (this was also over 20 years ago). We then went to the meet, things went fine, and my friend got a bunch of land really cheap and also specifically avoided drawing the government’s attention to it.

      Good times. Avoiding the feds is quite satisfying.

      1. Somebody brought you along as muscle?

      2. You have to love the FYTW aspect of the law. If you deposit/withdraw too much, it is reported and the feds will investigate. If you deposit/withdraw a little less to avoid the reporting, you are guilty of structuring activity even if the end use is not illegal.

    4. Yes indeedy. There was a famous case just a few months ago, I think still in court one way or another, where a store owner was depositing daily receipts daily. But because they were less than the $10K limit which requires telling the federals, they took the continued repetitive deposits as a sign he was structuring his deposits to avoid the reporting requirements, and civil asset forfeiture’d his bank account.

      1. It’s a great way to be able to target basically any small retail business at any time.

  7. These sports coaches….kinda sounds like a bunch of Catholic priests.

  8. The trouble with this case is the prurient interest in nature of the scandal will overshadow any consideration of the absurdity of structuring charges.

    1. Can’t help it. There’s nothing like watching a conservative social engineer go down on a sex scandal.

    2. Welcome to the thread.

    3. Are you kidding? This will be cited as a case showing why structuring charges are good.

    4. #SINGLETLIVESMATTER

  9. “So former Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has been indicted on charges of paying hush money ”

    So one of the charges he is being indicted on is giving in to extortion?

    1. Actually, blackmail. And come to think of it, I don’t even know if paying off a blackmailer is a crime.

      1. “Blackmail is such an ugly word. I prefer ‘extortion’. The ‘X’ makes it sound cool.”

        1. Racist.

          1. Bite my shiny metal ass, meatbag.

            1. My work here is done.

    2. Truly. Isn’t this blaming the victim? After all, there’s NO EXCUSE for extortion abuse!

  10. I’m shocked, shocked I say, that this guy is a scum bag who liked to diddle kids.

  11. I think bitching about the means by which Hastert’s kid fucking got exposed is to miss the point a bit. Are you people upset that a kid fucker didn’t get away with it or something? Looks like the Patriot Act actually worked as advertised for once. And the fact that it’s Hastert’s own petard is pretty delicious. No? We’re bitching about rules against structuring?

    1. Was the Patriot Act ever sold as a way to catch a guy paying off a molestation victim? I don’t believe it was. Someone above said this would be cited as a success and reason for these types of ridiculous measures.

      I don’t have much to say on another crooked politician beyond glad to see him exposed (though I wish it was in a way that didn’t violate the privacy rights of every American), but we all know why you are here. It was a Republican caught in a sex scandal.

      But the molestation is the crime here, not whatever the feds are now charging him with.

      1. Lying to the FBI shouldn’t be a crime? I could entertain that argument. Evading bank scrutiny? I’d scrap the whole Patriot Act. I’d scrap it on account of its ridiculous name alone. I don’t have to gloat over another Republican caught in a sex scandal. I’d be doing nothing but gloating. My role here is to point out when nonpartisan idealistic pox-both-houses libertarians somehow make this about Democrats if not overtly defend the relevant Republican. There is a rule that is mainstream and universal about American politics. Republicans can fuck kids, destroy countries, destroy our economy, destroy the environment, and that all pales in comparison, attention-wise, to a Democrat getting a consensual blowjob.

        1. The Democrat getting that consensual blowjob was the President, so maybe that had a little something to do with the media scrutiny. And the idea that Democratic sex scandals get more media attention in general is absurd. Sex scandals with details the press likes to go after get attention, and after that, the media LOVES to point out Republican hypocrisy (which I have no issue with).

          Most libertarians hate Democrats and progressives more than Republicans. I have no problem saying that I’m one of them. The key words there are hate and more, though. They also hate the media which is largely in the tank for those on the left. Even then, there are a number of comments on the issue. Spare me your leftwing martyr nonsense.

          There’s still plenty of people in this comment section mocking the Republicans and Hastert.

          My first thought when hearing about this yesterday is the same as it is now. Why the hell is a guy being charged for paying off someone blackmailing him. If he molested some kids in the past, charge him on that.

          1. Statute of limitations. An objective comparison of what Republicans and Democrats have done to this country absolutely, indisputably favors Democrats. But they do like higher taxes. That must trump all.

            1. An objective comparison of what Republicans and Democrats have done to this country absolutely, indisputably favors Democrats.

              HAHAHAHAHAHA!

            2. So, wait, what was your argument again? Oh, right. Same as always is. Democrats are better than Republicans.

              The reality is the feds didn’t give a shit about the touching of little boys when they started their investigation. They cared about someone extracting money from a bank without them getting their cut.

              An objective comparison of what Republicans and Democrats have done to this country absolutely, indisputably favors Democrats.

              Add up the deaths from Democratic caused wars and Republican wars in the 20th century. Add up the costs. One side is going to dwarf the other.

              But, if you consider government welfare programs the basis of society, sure…it’s indisputable the party of the most free shit trumps the party of just some free shit.

              1. Democrats are better than Republicans.

                And it’s the only fact that matters. We get two choices, and the consequences radically differ.

                They cared about someone extracting money from a bank without them getting their cut.

                So you too don’t give a shit about the child fucking–there’s a much greater crime, and that my friend is taxation.

                Add up the deaths from Democratic caused wars and Republican wars in the 20th century.

                Maybe. Despite appearances I’m not interested in a pissing match over history. I’m interested in what’s best for the immediate and long-term future. Look at Republicans. They are crazy.

                the party of the most free shit trumps the party of just some free shit.

                The only difference is who the free shit goes to, the poor or the rich. Or the rich or the rich, depending on the era. But no amount of lobbyist-extracted giveaways to the rich and to corporations–a system invented by Republicans and championed by them as actually a good thing–trumps some overfertile welfare queen buying a lobster. I get it; I know libertarians.

                1. Christ, you are a mendacious cunt.

                2. So you too don’t give a shit about the child fucking–there’s a much greater crime, and that my friend is taxation.

                  Or, I care about the rule of law and the presumption of innocence. The government shouldn’t have the right to trump up charges for ridiculous things such as structuring because it can’t prove a case of child molestation.

                  But beyond that, the feds didn’t get involved here because of child molestation. They got involved because a guy was taking money out of his bank account in a manner they deemed to be a form of tax evasion. For a law that was sold to go after terrorists and drug dealers.

                  Maybe. Despite appearances I’m not interested in a pissing match over history

                  Right. You just made a reference to how Dems trump Republicans historically, and then don’t want to argue history when it is brought that all but the most recent wars were drummed up by Democrats and progressives. From Vietnam to Korea to WW1. Not to mention the ‘low intensity’ conflicts and bombings supported by recent Dems.

                  The only difference is who the free shit goes to, the poor or the rich.

                  Yea, not giving is taking, got it. I’ve heard that from you before.

                  But no amount of lobbyist-extracted giveaways to the rich and to corporations

                  Which is obviously why The Dems get just as much from wealthy donors as Repubs. Those are just the good rich people buying the right kind of influence. Like Hillary’s friend from Qatar and China.

                3. There are days where I read your posts and think to myself “No one could possibly be this stupid, mendacious, and flat out wrong all the time.”

                  Then I read stuff like this and realize that it is indeed possible.

                  I know libertarians.

                  Your lack of understanding about libertarian thought and ideas has been fully exposed on more than one occasion.

        2. Who said that anyone screwing kids was okay, you mendacious twit? No one. It you are who you are, using your leader’s trick of attacking arguments no one is making.

          Taking out your own money should offends anyone. And before you hide behind “it’s the law”, so was prohibition on gay marriage and so was separate but equal. It’s his money, no the govt’s which is really what chaps you.

          1. I just didn’t realize there was such a strain of nuance in American discourse with respect to politician child fuckers.

            Like it’s news to me that you’re a bunch of closet Republicans. That’s one crowded closet though.

            1. Your comments, as always, are incredibly insightful. You have changed my mind and I am no longer a libertarian.

              Clearly ‘D’ is superior to ‘L’ or ‘R’. I mean, alphabetically, it just makes sense!

            2. I just didn’t realize there was such a strain of nuance in American discourse with respect to politician child fuckers.

              Tell it the FBI, which hasn’t charged him with child fucking.

    2. Tony no longer has a point.

    3. The article said he inappropriately touched someone decades ago. It didn’t say they had sex. It also didn’t say it was a kid. In my jurisdiction 15 is legal age.

      He was being blackmailed and the blackmailer had him give him amounts in less than $10,000 so he didn’t have to report it on his income tax and the person being blackmailed is the perp?

      Yeah, we are complaining about structuring laws.

      If he did something wrong sexually…if he did…then charge him with that.

  12. Dennis Hasdirt was seen coming out of Barney Frank’s basement.

  13. Hastert was goddamn ass camp on Jesus dick did good all forever and all the world is the bestest Walmart prices and China is sweet pines from the West Universe of Loving Christ “MURICA and then that shitty flat fuck place full of farmers who cost his ass trillions he only drew their collective plain cum from a million farmer cocks because he damn sure knew his FUCKING slinky FUCKING horrendous dumbass would neva be voted in unless you sprung magic tricks on the fucking dumbasses who take advantage of Amurica called MID AMURICA…. Fucking welfare FUCKS with their FUCKING big ass families and horizon tilting fields covered under PRECIOUS FUCKING terrorism and farming food protection bullshit.. FUCK farmers. FUCK you motherfucking government ass sucking whores…. MAN, only a true millionaire can afford a 60k truck unless your motherfucking MOUTH is sucking milk from goddamn governments multi-tummy dicks. FUCK farmers.. FUCKING goddamn pretend Americans FUCK you FUCKING millionaires Becauseyour GODDAMN government is FUCKING skeered of motherFUCKING goddamn losers and you get special priviledges while all the REAL FUCKING NON-welfare sucking desparate dicks around you get their homes lost and you drive these old country dusty roads in your FUCKING government provided trucks and tractors…

    MAN… NO ONE in Ohio is making millions on beans, bitch. FUCk these goddamn usurpers..

    1. Um , yea, millions ARE being made on beans… if you are a dumbass American farmer. NO ONE SHOULD make millions on beans unless your goddamn motherfucking farming corp spreads at least three states but these motherfuckers are getting rich on anti-terrorism bills and protectionist racket bullshit.

  14. Lotta trollin’ in this thread…

    Hastert was a PoS as a legislator and if somebody goes to jail for structuring it may as well be one of the fucks who voted to upgrade the law.

    We can thank our two worst presidents, Lincoln and FDR for the 18 U.S.C. ? 1001, lying to the state charge.

  15. “a exemplary Republican.” ‘A exemplary’, really? Did they change the pronunciation of the word to “eeexemplary?”

  16. Many politicians, even or especially ones who rise to positions of great power, effectively have no principles to keep them moving in the right direction once they gain power.

    But…they shouldn’t, should they? That’s why they’re called representatives. They’re not supposed to go by what they want, but what the voters want. Otherwise in what sense are they representative?

  17. a exemplary Republican during the Bush years, when the small-government party lost its way.

    Hah!

    1. I would say that, to the extent the Repubs were a small-government party, that ended when Goldwater gave way to Nixon.

  18. It’s a good thing we have the PATRIOT act, otherwise child molestation and lying to the FBI would have been 100% legal.

    1. I’m glad Tony was on this thread earlier to point that out to us. He’s really a great resource for us.

      It seems like just yesterday that he was screaming about his superiority and threatening to kill us. Good times … good times.

      1. “and threatening to kill us”

        Oh Tony, you don’t own a gun, you can’t fight, probably don’t even drive, have horrible science skills so can’t make a bomb and you are a gay progressive so when the state goes full socialist utopia and starts killing people you will be first up against the wall…

        What are you even thinking?

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  20. Democrats are something like 6x as likely to be indicted for a financial scandal than a Republican is. But, gay sex scandals? Republicans, all the way.

    The party that claims the other side is all about money, is actually all about money. And, the party that is all about pure sexual lives, has got a lot of gay guys in public washrooms in its history.

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