Federal prosecutors have indicted Dennis Hastert, a former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, for allegedly violating banking laws when he paid an unnamed person to conceal unspecified “past misconduct.”

Hastert was speaker from 1999 to 2007, and after he left the government he joined the law firm Dickstein Shapiro as a senior adviser.

A grand jury indicted Hastert on two counts: one count of structuring currency transactions to evade currency transaction reports and one count of making a false statement to the FBI.

Each count of the indictment carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

The Guardian reports:

A statement from the US attorney’s office in Chicago said the 73-year-old Illinois Republican was accused of evading the requirements of federal law through the careful and systematic withdrawal of $952,000 from his banks. …

The indictment, in US district court in Illinois, notes that between 1965 and 1981, Hastert worked as a high school teacher and coach in Yorkville, Illinois. The indictment then notes that “Individual A”, whom he is alleged to have paid, has known Hastert “most of Individual A’s life”.

“In or about 2010”, the indictment says, Hastert met with this person and “discussed past misconduct by [Hastert] that had occurred years earlier”. The indictment alleges that Hastert then agreed to “provide” this person $3.5m “in order to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct” against them.

According to the prosecution, Hastert systematically withdrew about $1.7m from banks, and then periodically delivered payments to Individual A for four years. His banks, required to report transactions of more than $10,000, questioned Hastert, who then decreased the size of his withdrawals but continued to pay the unnamed person amounts of $50,000 to $100,000.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange said Thursday that Hastert had resigned from its board.

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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