Let's Remember That Time Speaker Denny Hastert Covered Up A GOP Sex Scandal!
Back when Republican Denny Hastert was Speaker of the House -- before he became a lobbyist and before he was indicted for paying someone a whole lot of hush money to cover up "prior misconduct," whatever that means, we are terrified to find out -- there was this whole other thing Hastert tried to keep all hushed up, and it was a gross Republican sex scandal (our favorite kind). Time to flashback thingy!
A long time ago right before this current presidential campaign began, in 2006, there was a charming middle-aged Florida bachelor congressman named Mark Foley who loved to masturbate while typing dirty messages to the boy-children who served as Congressional pages. Occasionally, he would show up drunk at the boy-page barn and demand some action. There is nothing wrong with this, and Congressmen wouldn't have those young supple pages supplied by the government if not to fuck those kids, right?
Yeah, now you remember. But what does that have to do with then-Speaker Hastert? Oh nothing. Except for how he kind of maybe knew about it -- for months or even years:
A senior congressional aide said Wednesday that he alerted House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s office two years ago about worrisome conduct by former Rep. Mark Foley with teenage pages.
Kirk Fordham told The Associated Press that when he was told about Foley’s inappropriate behavior toward pages, he had “more than one conversation with senior staff at the highest level of the House of Representatives asking them to intervene.”
Hastert, as we mentioned earlier but will never tire of reminding you, assumed the speakership after perpetual cheater Newt Gingrich retired to spend more time banging his mistress, after impeaching Bill Clinton but epic FAILing to remove Bill Clinton from the presidency. And then next-in-line Rep. Bob Livingston, another Republican moral scold who really wanted to see Clinton fry for getting a hummer, had to give up his speaker dreams after confessing that yeah, he'd also been boning a lady who was not Mrs. Livingston. Hastert, though, was supposed to be Mr. Squeaky Clean, the former small town coach and teacher, a mild-mannered guy who could get along with everyone and restore order to the Republican Party. But then, dang it, we learned about Rep. Foley sending naughty messages to teenage boys about how horny he was for their hot page bodies. Hastert of course denied knowing anything about it for years, and he got REAL MAD at everyone who said, "Um, hey, Speaker Hastert, how come you've been ignoring these rumors that Rep. Foley is doing some maybe sex crimes to some kids, HUH?"
When asked about a groundswell of discontent among the GOP's conservative base over his handling of the issue, Hastert said in the phone interview: "I think the base has to realize after a while, who knew about it? Who knew what, when? When the base finds out who's feeding this monster, they're not going to be happy. The people who want to see this thing blow up are ABC News and a lot of Democratic operatives, people funded by [liberal activist] George Soros."
He went on to suggest that operatives aligned with former President Bill Clinton knew about the allegations and were perhaps behind the disclosures in the closing weeks before the Nov. 7 midterm elections, but he offered no hard proof.
It was all an evil Democratic scheme, see, to make Hastert look bad. Of course he didn't know, for months or even years, that Rep. Foley was sexually harassing underage pages! Except that all turned out to be bullshit, because Hastert eventually admitted he had heard something about Foley electronically diddling those kids after all. Easy to see how one might forget that sort of minor detail while one is busy blaming George Soros, Bill Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and the men's room attendant for it.
Hastert then received a spanking from the House Ethics Committee for being "willfully ignorant" because pretty much all the Republicans -- including current Speaker John Boehner, whom we expect to be indicted, imprisoned, caught banging his not-wife, or all of the above, any day now, since that's what happens with Republican House Speakers, apparently -- had warned Hastert about Foley's naughtiness.
Hastert shortly thereafter decided he was tired of being in Congress, maybe because all of his GOP colleagues were none too happy with how he'd handled the Foley situation, or how he helped hand the House back over to the Democrats (Speaker Pelosi, drink!), so he went off to make a bazillion dollars as a lobbyist, as one does when one is tired of serving the public.
Now that Hastert has been indicted for lying to the FBI and illegally withdrawing $1.7 million in cash, over four years, to keep "Individual A" from spilling the beans on some unknown Very Bad Thing Hastert allegedly did, he's probably looking back on the good old days when he was merely covering up someone else's scandal without having to personally pay all that money to do so. Allegedly.
Hastert has resigned from the lobbying firm "Dickstein Shapiro" (we swear we are not making that up), as well as from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange board. Neither he, nor the lawyers who managed to keep the specific Very Bad Thing details out of the indictment, have commented on the charges against Hastert, but hot damn, those are some good lawyers, because Hastert's out on bail, which was set at a measly $4,500. Given that he'd allegedly agreed to pay $3.5 million to keep his dirty secret a secret, that doesn't seem like much. But then, what do we know? Not much. Not yet anyway.
[Think Progress / Chicago Tribune / HuffPo / Politico]