Federal prosecutors announced bank-related charges against former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert on Thursday, accusing the 73-year-old Illinois Republican of withdrawing $952,000 in cash in a way that evaded the requirement that banks report cash transactions over $10,000. He’s also accused of lying to the FBI.
Each count of the indictment carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago.
The Associated Press left a phone message seeking comment with a person at Hastert’s Washington, D.C., office. It was not immediately returned. Hastert did not immediately return a message left on his cellphone seeking comment, or respond to an email.
From 2010 to 2014, Hastert withdrew a total of approximately $1.7 million in cash from various bank accounts and provided it to a person identified only as Individual A, according to the indictment.
In December last year, “Hastert falsely stated that he was keeping the cash” when questioned by the FBI, the prosecutor’s statement says.
Hastert, a former high school wrestling coach, was a little known lawmaker from suburban Chicago when chosen to succeed conservative Newt Gingrich as speaker. Hastert was picked after favored Louisiana Congressman Bob Livingston resigned following his admission of several sexual affairs.
As speaker, Hastert pushed President George W. Bush’s legislative agenda, helping pass a massive tax cut and expanding Medicare prescription drug benefits.
He retired from Congress in 2007 after eight years as speaker, making him the longest-serving Republican House speaker.
SOURCE: The Associated Press, Michael Tarm