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Former speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has been indicted by a federal grand jury for skirting banking reporting regulations. The charges stem from Hastert's withdrawal of over $950,000 in cash from various bank accounts, and his attempts to avoid disclosing the transactions.
Additional allegations regarding the purpose of the withdrawals have also surfaced over the weekend. Here's what you need to know:
1. The Scheme
The central allegation made in the indictment is that Hastert was paying an unnamed individual a grand total of $3.5 million, paid in incremental amounts from 2010 to 2014. The money was allegedly "to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct against Individual A." As of the indictment, Hastert had withdrawn $1.7 million.
2. The Charges
Federal banking regulations require domestic banks to report any currency transaction over $10,000 to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The indictment alleges Hastert made numerous withdrawals of $500,000, and after he was confronted by bank personnel regarding the transactions in 2012, he started withdrawing just under the $10,000 reporting limit.
The FBI also asked Hastert about the periodic transactions in 2014, and he told agents he didn't trust the banking system and was storing the cash. He told investigators, "Yeah ... I kept the cash. That's what I'm doing." But the FBI wasn't buying that story, and charged Hastert with making false statements regarding a federal investigation.
3. The Allegations
Speculation was rampant as to the identity of Individual A. The government hinted at the person's identity in the indictment, noting that Hastert "was a high school teacher and coach in Yorkville, Illinois" from 1965 to 1981.
On Friday, several news outlets were reporting that a federal law enforcement official said Hastert was paying the money to a male former student in order to conceal sexual misconduct Hastert had with him. The FBI has not confirmed the report, and the high school says it has no knowledge of any misconduct involving Hastert. Hastert himself has yet to comment on the matter.
UPDATE: Reuters is reporting that Hastert will be arriagned on federal charges Thursday, June 4 in Chicago.