An Illinois politician turned out to be corrupt? You don't say!
In my home state, anytime anyone is elected you almost have to assume they're guilty until proven innocent. It's jaded and cynical, and both the Democratic and Republican parties have hogtied opposing candidates to their alleged crimes (with mixed success) but corruption in the Land of Lincoln transcends parties and political beliefs. Everyone assumes the whole system is tainted, and we're not without reason. You start wondering about people who have no perceived history of wrongdoing, the Bruce Rauners and Jesse Whites of our upside-down little state.
Rep. Dennis Hastert, the homegrown congressman who was second in line to the Oval Office in the early and mid-2000s, is no exception. The two major charges against him seem par for the course in Illinois: he violated federal banking law and lied to the FBI. Unlike a certain attention-hog imbecile that spent six years as our governor, the reasoning behind these two charges are so sordid, you can't blame Hastert for avoiding the media.
Apparently, Hastert had relations with a teenage boy some 35-odd years ago. To cover up the sexual abuse, the small-town teacher gave this student a handsome sum of hush money. Hastert continued to pay off his victim until he apparently committed suicide in the 1990s. In the meantime, Hastert ran for public office and rose through the Republican ranks. I'd go more into detail, but certain details are being kept from the media. To make matters worse, Hastert's alleged lies to the FBI is in direct violation of the Patriot Act... which Hastert helped pass in the Autumn of 2001.
Illinois has seen its share of controversies, but never a sex scandal. In a perverse way, it brings the GOP's late '90s witch hunt of Bill Clinton full circle. As a puritanical section of the Republican Party nearly got the president kicked out of office for perjury, Speaker New Gingrich was forced to step down for past indiscretions. His immediate successor, Rep. Bob Livingston, lasted a week or so before he was caught in his own sexual imbroglio. The baton was then passed to Hastert, a square-jawed former wrestling coach who went on to become the longest-serving Speaker of the House in GOP history.
Rep. Hastert has plead not guilty, and there's a good possibility there will be a plea bargain before the former SOTHOR ever stands trail. This is more than just a fall from grace; this is a fall from decency. He wanted to protect the children, yet couldn't protect them from himself. Hastert was never the humble man without airs that was he hyped to be; he was a politician through and through. The long line of corrupt lemmings in Illinois politics just got a little bit longer, one by one jumping off a cliff of reprobate oblivion.