Tag Archives: felony indictment

Sex takes center stage in Hastert drama

Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg News — no fan of conservatives, to be sure — has identified, I think, the reason that sex has become the No. 1 media issue in the Dennis Hastert controversy/scandal.

Hastert, the former speaker of the U.S. House, has been indicted on a felony charge of making illegal hush money payments to someone.

It’s the reason for the hush money that’s become the focus here, not the charges spelled out in the indictment, according to Carlson.


Hastert allegedly sexually abused at least one young man when he was a teacher and coach in Yorkville, Ill. There could be more, the late victim’s sister alleges.

Why the keen interest?

It’s the context of how¬†Hastert became speaker of the House.

He succeeded a serial adulterer, Newt Gingrich, who had to quit his position after admitting to an affair with a staffer — all while he was ranting, raving and railing against President Clinton’s indiscretions with a White House intern.

Then came Bob Livingston, another Republican from Louisiana. Livingston was supposed to succeed Gingrich as speaker. Oops! He, too, fooled around with women other than his wife. Multiple times. One of his paramours was a lobbyist. He was out.

The House then looked for a Boy Scout, a man whose reputation was beyond reproach. Poof! There was Hastert. Hey, he’s as clean as they get.

Except that he wasn’t.

Hastert didn’t make a big show of his reputedly upstanding past. He didn’t prance around proclaiming himself to be without sin. He¬†allowed others to say it.

Carlson, though, does say that Hastert proved to be as¬†duplicitous about morality as Gingrich and others in Congress:¬†(H)e followed in the hypocritical footsteps of his predecessors, devoting much energy to shaming others about their sexual behavior. He advanced the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act through the House and proposed a constitutional amendment to annul same-sex unions in states that allowed them.”

Therein, throughout all of this, likely lies the reason for the fixation on the sex and not the money.


Sex and money aplenty in Hastert drama

Dennis Hastert was a high school teacher and coach. Then he went into politics.

After that he rose to become speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, earning a couple hundred grand a year while serving as Man of the House.

Now it comes out that he’s been indicted on various charges alleging illegal payments of money to keep someone known as Individual A quiet.

The money totaled, according to the indictment, about $3.5 million.

Here’s my question: How does a former teacher/coach-turned politician come up with that kind of alleged hush money?


Oh, and there’s this issue of sexual abuse of at least one young man.

The man’s sister has come forward to allege that Hastert abused her older brother when the boy was in high school. The boy grew up, but then died of AIDS complications a few years ago. He’s not around to corroborate any of the allegations, but sis is making plenty of noise about it now.

Hastert has been hiding since news of the indictment broke. He’ll supposedly come out of hiding on Tuesday when he’s arraigned on the charges brought. The indictment doesn’t accuse the former speaker of sexual abuse; it centers only on the money part.

What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is a seriously weird case that could turn into one of the bizarre scandals of modern times.


Perry faces big hurdles

Ross Ramsey is about as smart a Texas political analyst as there is, and he’s laid out three things Rick Perry must do to wage an effective campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

Ramsey, writing for the Texas Tribune, listed them in this order: (1) stay the course while the field thins out; (2) get rid of the prosecutor who’s trying to convict him of abuse of power; (3) do well in the debates.

If Ramsey was listing them in order of importance, I’d flip the first and second points.


Those “pesky prosecutors” represent every possible stumbling block for the former Texas governor.

Perry, who today went to Addison to announce his candidacy, appears to the be the first major candidate ever to run for president while facing felony indictment. A Travis County grand jury indicted him for abuse of power and coercion of a public official in 2014.

The history is out there. Ramsey goes through it in the link attached here.

If Perry cannot shake those prosecutors, then it’s game over.

And by “shaking” them, he must get the indictments tossed out.

As Ramsey notes: “Perry and his legal team have argued that the case is a political one brought by liberal prosecutors in a liberal county to a liberal grand jury, that his veto was legal, and that the whole thing was designed to spoil his political future.”

The veto might have been legal, but it also was done with considerable public-relations fanfare, which is why — in my view — the coercion charge might be the one that sticks more stubbornly than the abuse of power allegation.

All the then-governor had to do was veto the money appropriated to the Public Integrity Unit without making such a public case about the district attorney’s arrest for drunken driving and his public threat to veto the money if she didn’t quit her job as Travis County DA.

Was it legal? Sure. Was it a matter of coercion? Yes to that, too … allegedly.

Ramsey is correct on this other point: “The better¬†(Perry) does, the bigger the indictment obstacle becomes. It‚Äôs a bother now. It‚Äôs a potential deal-breaker if he becomes a real contender.”