Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the US House of Representatives: Pedophile
John Dennis “Denny” Hastert (/ˈhæstərt/; born January 2, 1942) is an American politician, lobbyist, and member of the Republican Party. Hastert was the 51st Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, serving from 1999 to 2007. He represented Illinois’s 14th congressional district for twenty years, 1987 to 2007. He is the longest-serving Republican Speaker of the House in history.
Hastert grew up in rural Illinois, and graduated from Wheaton College with a degree in economics in 1964, obtaining an education degree from Northern Illinois University three years later. From 1965 to 1981, Hastert was a high school teacher and coach. He lost a 1980 bid for the Illinois House of Representatives, but tried again and won a seat in 1981. He was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1987, and reelected several times thereafter. Hastert rose through the Republican ranks in the House, becoming chief deputy whip and eventually Speaker in 1999.
As Speaker of the House, Hastert supported the George W. Bush administration‘s foreign and domestic policies. After Democrats took control of the House in 2007 following the 2006 election, Hastert chose not to seek the position of minority leader, resigned his House seat, and became a lobbyist at the firm of Dickstein Shapiro.
In May 2015, Hastert was indicted on federal charges of structuring bank withdrawals to evade bank reporting requirements and making false statements to federal investigators. Federal prosecutors said that the money was to compensate for and conceal deliberately unspecified misconduct by Hastert against an unnamed individual years earlier. In October 2015, Hastert entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors. Under the agreement, Hastert pleaded guilty to the “structuring” charge (a felony), and the making false statements charge was dropped.
In June 2015, public accusations — but not legal charges — emerged that Hastert had sexually abused three students (including the aforementioned unnamed individual) when he was a teacher more than three decades earlier. In 2006, Hastert denied one such accusation, though there was no press coverage at the time. The latter accusation was reiterated publicly in 2015 by the sister of the alleged victim (who died in 1995), while the other abuse accusations were leaked.