As of this morning, we knew about allegations that former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) agreed to pay an unnamed individual $3.5 million in order to “compensate for and conceal” unspecified “misconduct.” The Illinois Republican was indicted yesterday, not for the misconduct itself, but for his attempts to cover it up.
But the follow-up questions were unavoidable. Who was Hastert paying? And why? NBC News’ Pete Williams, Erin Mcclam, and Tracy Connor reported this afternoon:
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert paid a man to conceal a sexual relationship they had while the man was a student at the high school where Hastert taught, a federal law enforcement official told NBC News on Friday.The official spoke on condition of anonymity. [The Tribune Company] reported Friday that two unnamed federal law enforcement officials said that Hastert paid a man from his past to conceal sexual misconduct.
If the leaks from law enforcement are correct, the next round of questions would probably lead to possible other charges for Hastert, but we don’t yet have any additional information and we don’t know about possible statute-of-limitation issues.
The NBC News report added the school district where Hastert worked from 1965 to 1981 said Friday that it had “no knowledge of Mr. Hastert’s alleged misconduct, nor has any individual contacted the District to report any such misconduct.”
Rachel will have much more on this tonight, but in the meantime, here’s a segment from this afternoon with Chuck Todd talking to Thomas Roberts about where the story stands.