When the news broke in May, it seemed hard to believe. According to a criminal indictment, an unnamed person approached House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) in 2010 and confronted him with alleged wrongdoing that had happened “years earlier.” Soon after, the Republican began paying the unnamed person through a series of cash installments.
According to the allegations at the time, Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million in order to “compensate for and conceal” unspecified “misconduct.” The former GOP leader was charged, not for the misdeeds, but for his attempts to cover them up, including alleged lies to the FBI.
As of today, NBC News confirmed that Hastert will plead guilty as part of an agreement with prosecutors.
The politician, who was not in the Chicago courtroom where the attorneys gave the judge an update on the case, will appear on Oct. 28 to enter a plea. […]Court papers say he was taking out the money because he agreed to pay a mystery man identified only as “Individual A” some $3.5 million in hush money to conceal “prior misconduct.” Federal law enforcement sources have said “Individual A” was a student at Yorkville High School in Illinois while Hastert was a teacher and coach there in the ’60s and ’70s, and that the misconduct was sexual in nature.
As we discussed several months ago, from 1998 to 2006, House Republicans suffered one ugly scandal after another. Democrats used the “culture of corruption” label to great effect because it was true – from Gingrich to Livingston, DeLay to Cunningham, Ney to Foley, the GOP’s House majority just couldn’t stay out of trouble.
But no matter how many scandals surrounded House Republicans, the party pointed to the humble Speaker from Illinois as the squeaky clean leader, elevated to the post from relative obscurity because of his above-the-fray reputation.
And yet, here we are. A Washington Post report added that the maximum penalty for the charges Hastert is facing is up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Under a plea deal, however, “Hastert can expect a much more lenient sentence.”