Political reporters failed for years to connect the dots on former House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s involvement in the national capital’s gay scene.
Even now, the mainstream and alternative media’s “pack journalism” style remains focused almost solely on a near-frenzy to publish details about Hastert’s personal activities. Meanwhile, they refrain from probing the broader implications of his clout. The man was second-in-line to the presidency from 1999 to 2007.
Whether from timidity or complicity, the media are focusing as usual in holding up one miscreant as a scapegoat while remaining nearly silent regarding a long term pattern of links between sex scandal, blackmail, federal contracts that bilk taxpayers, selective prosecution, and other corrupt policy making.
A tradition of such silence has enabled Hastert, 73, and other vice-seeking politicians to wield vast power over the public even though they are highly vulnerable to blackmailers and other controllers, as we shall amplify in future columns.
Today’s column begins a series arguing that the public needs to hear more about Washington’s patterns of corruption. Remember: Corrupt elected officials need not meet normal security clearances.
That’s the real story the public should care about regarding Hastert, who was elected to Congress in 1986. He resigned in 2007 to work as a lobbyist. His photo is from a C-SPAN appearance after he lost weight during recent years.
Hastert, the longest-serving Republican speaker in U.S. history, left office quietly. The ostensible reason? Because Democrats had prevailed in the 2006 House elections, thereby preventing his continuation in the top job.
Federal authorities unsealed an indictment May 28 accusing the former Illinois lawmaker of banking violations and false statements to the FBI stemming from his alleged agreement to pay $3.5 million hush money for matters unspecified in the indictment. He had represented the Illinois 14th district, which is west of Chicago and surrounds Aurora.
Sources later alleged the cover-up involved sex with an underage male while Hastert was a teacher and coach at Yorkville High School. The question of how Hastert obtained so much money is seldom being raised.
The defendant is scheduled for arraignment June 9 in Chicago’s federal court. He has not commented publicly on the charges. But many longtime friends have expressed disbelief in any wrongdoing and vouched for his good character.