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John Dennis Hastert (born January 2, 1942) is a former American politician who represented Illinois's 14th congressional district from 1987 to 2007 and served as the 51st Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1999 to 2007, the longest-serving Republican Speaker of the House in history.
After being convicted of financial crimes related to his previous repeated incidents of child molestation, he became the highest-ranking elected official in U.S. history to have served a prison sentence.From 1965 to 1981, Hastert was a high school teacher and coach at Yorkville High School in Yorkville, Illinois.
He lost a 1980 bid for the Illinois House of Representatives, but ran again and won a seat in 1981.
He was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1986, and was re-elected every two years until he retired in 2007.
Hastert rose through the Republican ranks in the House, becoming chief deputy whip in 1995 and Speaker in 1999.
As Speaker of the House, Hastert supported the George W. Bush administration's foreign and domestic policies.
After Democrats took control of the House in 2007 following the 2006 elections, Hastert chose not to seek the position of minority leader, resigned his House seat, and became a lobbyist at the firm of Dickstein Shapiro. On May 28, 2015, Hastert was indicted on federal charges of structuring bank withdrawals to evade bank reporting requirements and making false statements to federal investigators.
Federal prosecutors said that the funds withdrawn by Hastert were used as hush money to conceal past misconduct by Hastert.
In October 2015, Hastert entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Under the agreement, Hastert pleaded guilty to the structuring charge (a felony); the charge of making false statements was dropped.
In court submissions filed in April 2016, federal prosecutors alleged that Hastert had molested at least four boys as young as 14 years of age during his time as a high school wrestling coach.
At a sentencing hearing, Hastert admitted that he had sexually abused boys whom he had coached.
Referring to Hastert as a "serial child molester", a federal judge imposed a sentence of 15 months in prison, two years' supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.
Hastert was imprisoned in 2016 and was released 13 months later.
Early life and early career
Hastert was born in Aurora, Illinois, on January 2, 1942, the eldest of two sons of Naomi (née Nussle) and Jack Hastert's. Hastert is a descendent of Luxembourgish and Norwegian descent on his father's side, as well as one of German descent on his mother's side.
Hastert grew up in a small Illinois farming community. Haster Eigenschaften include a farm and a family farm; his middle-class family owned a farm; Hastert bagged and hauled food and performed farm chores. Hastert, a young man, worked shifts in the family's Plainfield restaurant, The Clock Tower, where he was a fry cook. During his sophomore year of high school, Hastert became a born-again Christian. Hastert was a star wrestler and football player at Oswego High School.
Hastert attended North Central College for a short time, but later moved to Wheaton College, a Christian liberal arts college. Jim Parnalee, Hastert's roommate who moved with him to Wheaton, was a Marine Corps Reserve member who died in Vietnam in 1965. Hastert continued to visit Parnalee's family each year in Michigan. Hastert has never served in the military due to a wrestling injury. Hastert received a B.A. degree in 1964 from Wheaton. The economy is in flux. He obtained his M.S. in 1967. Northern Illinois University (NIU) has a philosophy of education (NIU). Hastert spent three months in Japan as part of the People to People Student Ambassador Program. Tony Podesta, the president of the Young Democrats at University of Illinois in Chicago Circle), was one of Hastert's fellow group members.
Hastert was employed by the Yorkville Community Unit School District for 16 years, from 1965 to 1981. Hastert began workingbenso at age 23, while attending NIU. Hastert taught at Yorkville High School (teaching government, history, economic, and sociology), where he also served as a football and wrestling coach. Hastert led the school's wrestling team to the 1976 state championship and was later named Illinois Coach of the Year. Hastert allegedly assaulted at least four of his students during the time he coached wrestling, according to federal prosecutors.
During his time as a schoolteacher and mentor, Hastert was a Boy Scout volunteer with Explorer Post 540 of Yorkville for 17 years. Hastert is said to have traveled with the Explorers on trips to the Grand Canyon, Minnesota, Minnesota, and Utah's Green River.
Hastert married Jean Kahl, a fellow instructor at the high school with whom he had two sons in 1973.
Hastert joined the Washington, D.C.-based law firm and lobbying company Dickstein Shapiro in May 2008, six months after resigning from Congress. Hastert didn't wait until the constitutionally mandated "cooling-off period" had passed before registering as a lobbyist. Hastert's former congressional colleagues have earned millions of dollars over the next two years lobbying on a variety of topics, the majority concerning congressional appropriations.
Hastert appeared in foreign government, including Luxembourg's government and the government of Turkey, according to Foreign Agents Registration Act filings. Hastert also lobbied for the establishment of a major Army Reserve transportation facility during a period of 2009. Hastert also worked for Lorillard Tobacco Co., which paid Dickstein Shapiro almost $8 million from 2011 to 2014 to lobby on behalf of candy-flavored tobacco and electronic cigarettes; Hastert "was the most prominent member of the lobbying team" on these campaigns. Hastert lobbied for climate change causes for Peabody Energy, the world's largest private-sector coal firm; in 2015, Hastert "switched sides" and lobbied for Fuels America, the ethanol industry company. Hastert monitored GPS regulations on behalf of LightSquared, which paid Dickstein Shapiro $200,000 for lobbying services in the second half of 2011.
Hastert has also lobbied on behalf of FirstLine Transportation Security, Inc. (which requested congressional review of the Transportation Security Administration's procurement process); the American College of Rheumatology (on an annual labor and health bill); and the Secure ID Alliance;
Hastert's company Dickstein Shapiro and former House majority leader-turned lobbyist Dick Gephardt's lobbying company have split a $1.4 million annual lobbying deal with the government of Turkey in 2014. Hastert and Gephardt travelled to Turkey with eight members of Congress in April 2013, with all expenses paid by the Turkish government. Although members of Congress are generally forbidden from attending and attending trips outside of the United States, the legislation allows lobbyists to plan and attend trips abroad if paid for by foreign countries. Hastert defended the trip, saying he had "meticulously" followed the rules and that his presence anddesigned Gephardt "allowed those members of Congress to have a fuller experience." The trip was highlighted in a National Journal investigation as an example of loopholes, in which "lobbyists who are unable to afford a sandwich can also escort travelers on trips around the world."
As Hastert's client Fuels America (the ethanol industry trade group) said in March 2015, Hastert and his associate (accompanied by many lobbyists, including former Massachusetts Senator William D. Delahunt), "lingering" and "bantering with senators and other passersby." Watchdog organizations who "questioned whether Hastert was breaking" these rules chastised Hastert and Delahunt, but "allies of Hastert and Delahunt" said they made a point of not lobbying senators in the Senate Reception Room but that staff and staff of their team used the lobby area as a temporary base, where they could greet lawmakers when they were holding meetings in private rooms.
Hastert resigned his Dickstein Shapiro lobbyist job on the day the 2015 indictment was unveiled, and his biography was taken from the firm's website.
Hastert & refreshing Associates was founded in addition to his lobbyist practice. Hastert also served on the board of directors of CME Group, which had arisen from the merger of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Chicago Board of Trade), where he earned more than US$205,000 in total compensation in 2014. Following his indictment, Hastert resigned from the board on May 29, 2015, effective immediately.
Hastert's receipt of federal funds as a lobbyist sparked controversies in 2009. Hastert, a former House Speaker, was entitled to a public allowance (roughly $40,000 a month) for a five-year term to enable him to keep an office under 1975 federal law. Hastert accepted the funds, which went to office in Far West suburban Yorkville, Illinois; three employees, including secretary Lisa Post and administrative assistants, received more than $100,000 per year; and court costs; and legal fees were paid for three employees. Jarman left the company later this year, and Harbin's salary was cut drastically. Hastert's government-funded office closed in late 2012, at the end of the maximum five years for which public funds were available. The total amount of public funds invested on Hastert's post-speakership office was nearly $1.9 million (not including federal health care to which employees were entitled), of which the majority (about $1.45 million) went to staff salaries.
The federally funded programs were legally required to be completely separate from Hastert's concurrent lobbying efforts for Dickstein Shapiro. Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, described the relationship as "very worrying" because the actual arrangement was not clear. The two departments were not completely separate, according to a Hastert spokesperson. However, a Chicago Tribune probe found that "a secretary in the ex-speaker's government office used email to coordinate some of his private business meetings and travel," as well as other findings on one proposed venture" and that "a suburban Chicago businessman who was involved in the business ventures with Hastert found that "a secretary in the ex-speaker's government office met with Hastert at least three times in the government office to discuss the proposals." Hastert denied that he had been involved in any unlawful conduct.
J. David John, Hastert's former business associate, filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of Illinois, alleging that Hastert misappropriated federal funds for his post-speakership office in Yorkville for personal use, including private lobbying and company projects. This lawsuit was brought under the False Claims Act (FCA), an anti-fraud statute that allows a private party to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the federal government. John argues that he told the FBI in 2011 that "he was aware that Hastert was using federally funded offices, employees, office supplies, and vehicles for personal business ventures." John, a businessman from Burr Ridge, Illinois, said he traveled with Hastert and collaborated with him on "a proposed Grand Prix racetrack in Southern California and sports events in the Middle East" as well as other initiatives. Hastert denies doing wrongdoing. The allegations regarding the former speaker's officer attracted the attention of federal investigators in 2013, resulting in the federal indictment in 2015.
Judge Kocoras dismissed the complaint in April 2017, finding that John did not qualify as a "whistleblower" under FCA. An appeal was likely, according to John's spokesman, who said that it was likely. Hastert's dismissal did not revolve around whether Hastert mistook the speaker's office, but rather whether John met the allegations before anyone else and before they were made public." The prosecution had incorrectly suspected John of misusing federal funds by Hastert, according to Kocoras.
Hastert made occasional public appearances on political policy after resigning from Congress. In the 2012 Republican presidential primaries, he also made some endorsements of political candidates; rather than his predecessor as Speaker Newt Gingrich.