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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

IL-14: Hastert Under FBI Investigation... Or Maybe Not

Posted by James L.

Try as they may, the Republicans cannot escape the taint of the Jack Abramoff scandal; with each passing day, the threads of corruption in Washington are being unraveled and are leading to some surprising places. ABC's Brian Ross has the bombshell:

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert, is under investigation by the FBI, which is seeking to determine his role in an ongoing public corruption probe into members of Congress, ABC News has learned from senior U.S. law enforcement officials.

Federal officials say the information implicating Hastert was developed from convicted lobbyists who are now cooperating with the government.

Part of the investigation involves a letter Hastert wrote three years ago, urging the Secretary of the Interior to block a casino on an Indian reservation that would have competed with other tribes.

The other tribes were represented by convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff who reportedly has provided details of his dealings with Hastert as part of his plea agreement with the government.

The letter was written shortly after a fund-raiser for Hastert at a restaurant owned by Abramoff. Abramoff and his clients contributed more than $26,000 at the time.

It's no wonder Hastert was getting antsy about the FBI's weekend raid on the office of blatantly corrupt Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA). It's not the Constitution that he's so concerned about, it's his own corrupt ass. Suddenly, Fighting Dem John Laesch may not be quite the long shot that he once seemed.

UPDATE: The Hotline posted a pretty blunt Department of Justice statement: "Speaker Hastert is not under investigation by the Justice Department." Not yet, maybe? (The AP has the story.)

UPDATE (II): ABC's sticking to its guns (thanks bosdcla14), though it seems to me that while there may not be a specific probe into Hastert, investigators are looking at a broader group of lawmakers that would include him--hence the comment that Hastert is "in the mix" of the investigation.

Posted at 08:15 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Culture of Corruption, Illinois | Technorati

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Right now ABC is standing by the story, despite the flat denial by DOJ.


Hopefully this won't turn out like the Truthout saga.

One positive thing is that until this happened I didn't know that Hastert was the #1 donor of Abramoff. Its definitely something that should be pushed, regardless of how this ABC story comes out.

Posted by: bosdcla14 [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 24, 2006 11:43 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment