How very, very amusing about Dennis Hastert

The rough background is this.

So, high school wrestling coach, becomes Congressman, Speaker of the House, retires to be a lobbyist.

Someone who has, according to the court documents, known Haster all their lives comes along in 2010 (3 years after retirement from Congress) and asks for $3.5 million to, allegedly, keep quiet about something that had happened to both of them.

Hastert agrees and starts paying.

Hmm, well, no, we don’t know what. We can all assume all we like about a former high school wrestling coach agreeing to cough up but……

So, who is now indicted? The bloke coughing up the money. And not for whatever might have been done. Nor for coughing up. But for taking the money out of accounts in amounts of less than $10k at a time to dodge, allegedly, reporting requirements.

Ain’t American law just great?

9 comments on “How very, very amusing about Dennis Hastert

  1. ah, yes, the merry world of “structuring”, “Form crime” and so on in the US.

    Try to work out how many forms Boris Johnson technically has to file to the US to correctly report:

    – his income;
    – his occupational pension;
    – his ISA;
    – the London accounts (assuming he can sign cheques as single or dual signatory)
    – and as a little Gedankenexperiment, a hypothetical Church Roof Fund of which he is treasurer.

    Now work out the minimum and maximum penalties for forgetting an old Isa with £1500 in it that has earned £100 in interest the last 5 years.

  2. There have been cases where the IRS has seized people’s entire wealth under civil forfeiture laws for payments under $10k – e.g. a recent case involving a shop who deposits <10k in cash in the bank down the street because the insurance only covers 10k, or the bank teller asked them too since it saves them paperwork.

  3. It seems rather pointless to make a law for sums above 10K when they obviously monitor transactions in sums below 10K as well. Why not just use suspicious banking activity to initiate an investigation, rather than criminalize the wrong amount of money. Seems like one of those “crimes” intended to trap people against whom there is n o other evidence of wrong doing.

  4. If you’re interested in this topic, look up the Institute for Justice website for a lot of cases of innocent US businesses caught in this trap.

    Naturally the new US Attorney General is a fan

  5. @Mr Black,

    it’s exactly that.

    But the bureaucratic mechanism is as follows:

    A bank has to report every transaction >10k.
    They don’t have to report individual transactions 10k, lots of almost-10k transactions over a period of time etc.

  6. But for taking the money out of accounts in amounts of less than $10k at a time to dodge, allegedly, reporting requirements.

    Actually it is not merely for that. It is also for lying to the Feds. That is, they asked him if there was any special reason he was taking so many small sums out of his bank account and he said something like “You mean like paying off a former pregnant female student? No, nothing like that at all”.

    The FIFA scandal seems to have been started by this too. One of the sons of the Trinidad delegate was taking cash to the US and depositing it in amounts under $10,000 but it seems the currency shifted and the amount turned out to be over the limit, so he asked for $500 back. Not, perhaps, the brightest spark. Nothing suspicious about that at all. I mean, who takes cash to the US?

  7. The IRS is Obama’s hit team, viz its assaults on Republican organisations & it’s then head taking the Fifth. The FIFA prosecutions by the US (rather than the Swiss) are just payback for the award of the 2022 World Cup venue to Qatar rather than the US (which Eric Holder pushed very hard.
    I’m guessing Hastert did something to piss off Obama or one of his muckers.

  8. SMFS

    the Feds… asked him if there was any special reason he was taking so many small sums out of his bank account and he said something like

    Isn’t the correct and honest answer, in a free society where the Feds had no other bona fide reason for questioning him “not really any of your (sodding) business”?

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