Dennis Hastert’s indictment is a danger to us all

Dennis Hastert’s indictment is a danger to us all
Credit: Bonnie Jo Mount/ Washington Post

[Ed. – Emphasis added.]

[Hastert] seems to have committed two crimes. First, he withdrew his own money from the bank in a way the Feds disapprove of to pay a blackmailer. Second, he wasn’t forthcoming when the FBI questioned him. …

Ken White at Popehat explains:

Hastert is charged with two federal crimes: structuring financial transactions to evade IRS reporting requirements in violation of 31 U.S.C. section 5324(a)(3) and lying to the FBI in violation of the notorious 18 U.S.C. section 1001. Both charges reflect the breadth of federal prosecutorial power.

I suspect we’ll find that the investigation happened like this: the feds heard that Hastert was paying someone off based on an accusation of old misconduct, determined that the misconduct was too old (or out of their jurisdiction) to prosecute, and started subpoenaing records and interviewing witnesses until they found some element of what he was doing that was a federal crime. In other words, they targeted the man, and then looked for the crime.

Under federal law, Hastert could literally have been indicted for telling FBI agents “it is none of your business” when asked why he was withdrawing money because it is their business [i.e., according to law, it’s malum prohibitum to withdraw your money in a way the feds don’t like. – Ed.].

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