CHICAGO — Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert was charged on Thursday with lying to the F.B.I. and structuring cash withdrawals to avoid bank reporting requirements, federal authorities said.
Mr. Hastert, 73, a longtime Republican leader who now works as a lobbyist in Washington, was providing money to an unnamed person in order to “compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct” against that person, according to a federal indictment issued by the United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.
The indictment says that Mr. Hastert, who was once a high school teacher and wrestling coach in a small Illinois town, paid $1.7 million to the person from 2010 to 2014.
As Speaker of the U.S. House, in October of 2000, Dennis Hastert (in concert with President Bill Clinton) killed the Armenian Genocide Resolution moments before its adoption.
Hastert had announced he would support the Armenian Genocide resolution. The resolution, vehemently opposed by Turkey, had passed the Human Rights Subcommittee of the House and the International Relations Committee but Hastert, although first supporting it, withdrew the resolution on the eve of the full House vote. He explained this by saying that he had received a letter from president Bill Clinton asking him to withdraw it, because it would harm U.S. interests.
A September 2005 article in Vanity Fair revealed that during her work, former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds had heard Turkish wiretap targets boast of covert relations with Hastert. The article states, “the targets reportedly discussed giving Hastert tens of thousands of dollars in surreptitious payments in exchange for political favors and information.” An official at the Turkish Consulate is said to have claimed in one recording, that was translated by Edmonds, that the price for Hastert to withdraw the Armenian Genocide resolution would have been at least $500,000.
Following his congressional career, Hastert received a $35,000 per month contract lobbying on behalf of Turkey. Hastert and former congressman Dick Gephardt’s firms have split a $1.4 million annual lobbying contract from Turkey.