The day after New Year’s day in 1942 Dennis Hastert was born. It was less than a month after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He grew up in Plainfield, Illinois a town that was about 40 miles southwest of Chicago. Its present population is around 40,000. He went to Oswego High School in a neighboring town where he wrestled and played football.
He graduated from Wheaton College in 1964. The next year he was working as a teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School. He stayed there from age 23 to age 39 until he entered the Illinois House of Representatives in 1981. He would get his masters in education in 1967. He married a fellow teacher Jean Kahl in 1973 at age 31. They are still married over 40 years later although when he went to DC she stayed home. They have two children: Ethan and Joshua.
Hastert became a successful politician rising to become Speaker in the U.S. House in 1999 at age 57. He held that position for eight years. According to Wikipedia he was worth no more than $270,000 when he entered Congress in 1987 but when he left his net worth has risen from somewhere between 4 million and 17 million dollars. It does give legs to the story he took $500,000 to sink the Armenian Genocide resolution.
He left Congress in November 2007 and six months later started working for a lobbying firm Dickstein Shapiro in Washington, DC as a senior advisor. For five years after he resigned from Congress he was paid $40,000 a month, yes, a month, for his office expenses. It is amazing how generous our politicians are to themselves with our money. If you want one word for the way things are happening in D.C. I’d suggest “stinks.” But I guess it is not limited to D.C. Denny served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1981 to 1986 and gets a $34,000 pension for 6 years of service.
You have to say Denny did all right for himself until his past came hurrying back at him in 2010. As one commentator here noted to keep up with the tenor of the recent subject matter, he entered into an accord and satisfaction to buy this person’s silence. It is hard to believe the person, who I will refer to by the appropriate name, blackmailer, disappeared from Denny’s life back when he was a young school teacher and suddenly arrived back on the scene demanding 3.5 million dollars.
“Hey, Denny, remember me. I was the boy on the wrestling team you took care of forty years ago. How about forking over 3.5 million and I keep my mouth shut.”
“Sure,” Blackmailier, but I can’t come up with it right away I’ll make a couple of $50,000 payments and then spread the rest out over the next few year.”
“Sounds, good Denny.”
Things don’t happen that way. It is likely Blackmailer would have tried to reach into Denny’s pockets for something when he was Speaker or even before. Why would he wait until 2010 as alleged in the indictment; had Denny gone to his Maker then Blackmailer would get nothing. It will be interesting to see how he earned his living during the times Denny was in office. Maybe he was a military contractor.
The newspapers are saying Blackmailer is a male student who was involved in sexual matters with Denny. The LA times said there’s a second student who was involved. He must be really pissed seeing Blackmailer getting all that money and he got nothing. No wonder he is now stepping up to the plate. Who knows how many will be hanging around the batter’s box.
This casts a little light on the Mark Foley scandal with the congressional pages and Hastert’s indifference to it. Who would ever have thought Denny was engaged in gay relations but what about this back in 2006? A comment to an article back then said that rumors “surfaced about inappropriate contact with male high school students” which forced him into politics. Then in 2015 the call on CSPAN from a guy named Bruce who said he was from Plainville and added “remember me” with a laugh and hung up.
In 2010 Denny knew being gay is ok. It seems unlike something someone can be bribed over especially if they are out of politics. Do you pay 3.5 million to hush up hypocrisy? Who is worse Denny or Josh Duggar?
We don’t know how old the alleged boys were when he had his time with them. Is Denny another Jerry Sandusky? What we do know is that one of them had fairly good proof, well at least 3.5 million dollars worth of proof, of Denny’s indiscretions.
I come away from this thinking Denny is not that bright which tells a lot about the Speaker of the U.S. House and a ton more about the people running our government. How does Boehner fit in this? Perhaps we are much worse off than I ever imagined.
How could Denny ever think he could get away with this; didn’t he know if the 3.5 million was met there would be additional demands. Didn’t he know by succumbing to Blackmailer he was admitting his guilt, no one who is innocent would agree to pay $350 never mind 3.5 million.
There will be a lot more to this story. We will find out Blackmailer’s identity. He was extorted into cooperating by the FBI in exchange for getting a pass on the extortion and income tax evasion charges (is bribe money taxable). Other kids may step forward looking for a pay day. Denny will avoid prison unless too much Sandusky stuff surfaces. Denny will keep a low profile until the plea deal is done. Blackmailer won’t get any more money. Within a year Denny will be back in good standing as a lobbyist to the U.S. House of Scandal where he once was Speaker.