JUST HOW CORRUPT IS DENNIS HASTERT? I MEAN DID HE DO MORE THAN JUST SCREW OVER THE ARMENIANS FOR A BRIBE FROM TURKEY?
Let me answer both questions. VERY corrupt, right up to his ham hocks; and much more than just taking bribes from the Turks to foil Armenian-Americans. Early today I was somewhat astounded to hear Hastert howling like a madman that the FBI had dared to invade the sanctity of crooked Democratic congressman William Jefferson's freezer (where they found $10,000 less than the $100,000 bribe he had recently taken). Why, thought I, is Hastert running around like a stuck pig screaming about the Constitution-- after participating, quite actively, in gutting it for the last half dozen years? I mean he was stomping around and bellowing so loudly that he had another meeting with Bush-- this while Democratic House Leader Pelosi is demanding that Jefferson resign his House Ways and Means Committee seat! It makes more sense this afternoon.
Now ABC News is reporting that it was Speaker Hastert who got the most bribe money from Abramoff of anyone in the House of Representatives. This should surprise no one who has been paying attention. Remember, to agree to torpedo a House resolution, which he had been supporting, recognizing Armenian-American claims about their nation's genocide, Hastert took $500,000 in small bills from agents of the Turkish government. No one knows where he hides his money-- although he has been a major supporter of off-shore businesses-- but one thing for sure: considering what he consumes in a day, there's no room in hisfreezer for half a million dollars!
Although the FBI investigation of Hastert's previous bribe case was very mysterious and murky, the ABC piece is much clearer-- and far more out in the fresh air for Americans to see: "The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert, is under investigation by the FBI, which is seeking to determine his role in an ongoing public corruption probe into members of Congress, ABC News has learned from high level government sources. Federal officials say the information implicating Hastert was developed from convicted lobbyists who are now cooperating with the government. Part of the investigation involves a letter Hastert wrote three years ago [co-signed by 3 of the most corrupt bosses presiding over the Republican Culture of Corruption: Roy Blunt (R-MO), DeLay and Eric Cantor (R-VA)], urging the Secretary of the Interior to block a casino on an Indian reservation that would have competed with other tribes. The other tribes were represented by convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff who reportedly has provided details of his dealings with Hastert as part of his plea agreement with the government. The letter was written shortly after a fund-raiser for Hastert at a restaurant owned by Abramoff. Abramoff and his clients contributed more than $26,000 at the time."
That was certainly a nice day for Denny, although just a small amount of the nearly $70,000 Abramoff and his clients gave him between 1998 and 2004. (Actually the crime-busting SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE reports that Hastert took at least $100,000 from Abramoff, not $70,000.) Like all crooked pols caught like rats, Hastert denies everything, of course.
In September, 2004 The Washington Post had written about that very letter in an article about the systematic Republican corruption that had taken over the nation's capital. "DeLay has also shown support for causes important to Abramoff's clients. A source close to Abramoff who asked not to be named because of the continuing grand jury investigation said Abramoff lobbied DeLay's office to organize a June 2003 letter -- co-signed by DeLay, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Deputy Whip Eric I. Cantor (R-Va.) -- that endorsed a view of gambling law benefiting the Coushattas' desire to block gambling competition by another tribe. The letter, sent to Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton, said the House leaders opposed a plan by the Jena Band of Choctaw Indians to open a casino at a non-reservation site, expected at the time to be outside Shreveport, La., not far from a casino owned by the Coushattas. The intent of the letter, the source said, was to protect the income from the Coushattas' casino -- about $300 million a year. V. Heather Sibbison, a lobbyist at the time for the Jena Band, said: "I do this for a living, and I have never seen a letter like that before. It was incredibly unusual for that group of people, who do not normally weigh in on Indian issues, to express such a strong opinion about a particular project not in any of their home states."
A friend of mine from a backward part of rural Georgia, Jeremy, who I've written about on DWT before, moved to California and is recovering from years and years of Fox "News" brainwashing. He's making progress but sometimes he slips. He slipped today. Jeremy has been demanding that I denounce Louisiana crooked congressman William Jefferson and admit that political corruption is not partisan. Let me tell you why he's off-base.
Sure there are-- and, as he pointed out, always have been-- corrupt people who have gotten into office and used their positions to advance their personal finances at the expense of the general public. William Jefferson appears to be one of those. But when I talk about a Culture of Corruption pervading Washington, that isn't what I'm talking about, far from it. Jeremy and anyone else who has been brainwashed by Hannity or Limbaugh or O'Liely-- please read, for starters, a short piece in THE NATION called "Exile On K Street". It will clear up any confusion about the difference between a rogue crook like Jefferson and a carefully-crafted and operated system of corruption utterly dominating all aspects of our nation's capital's political life.
Another difference people need to look at-- speaking of letters-- is the letter Pelosi sent to Jefferson today asking him to leave his powerful committee position. (Hastert, on the other hand appointed the already indicted DeLay to the same committee after the indictment and after he was named as a possible target in several bribery investigations.
May 24, 2006
Congressman William J. Jefferson
2113 Rayburn House Office Building
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Congressman Jefferson:
In the interest of upholding the high ethical standard of the House Democratic Caucus, I am writing to request your immediate resignation from the Ways and Means Committee.
Clear difference, right? Even in Georgia?
9:30PM UPDATE: BOEHNER WAS PROTESTING PRETTY LOUD TOO. GOD ONLY KNOWS WHAT HE MUST BE HIDING!
Ron at Politics 1 has all the skinny on congressmen who feel they're immune from FBI search. (And maybe they are but I gotta think that the ones who have consistently proven they don't give a rat's ass about The Constitution and who now scream the loudest, must be hiding something. And with Boehner's and Hastert's propensity for taking bribes... well, you gotta wonder.)
"Well, I have got to believe at the end of the day it is going to end up across the street at the Supreme Court. I don't see anything short of that ... [the search was] the Justice Department's invasion of the legislative branch ... [The FBI] take the same oath, so somebody better start reading the Constitution down there," said Boehner. Hastert was outraged: "Nothing I have learned in the last 48 hours leads me to believe that there was any necessity to change the precedent established over those 219 years [of barring Justice Department searches of Capitol Hill offices] ... I am very concerned about the necessity of a Saturday night raid on Congressman Jefferson's Capitol Hill Office in pursuit of information that was already under subpoena and at a time when those subpoenas are still pending and all the documents that have been subpoenaed were being preserved. The Founding Fathers were very careful to establish in the Constitution a Separation of Powers to protect Americans against the tyranny of any one branch of government. They were particularly concerned about limiting the power of the Executive Branch. Every Congressional Office contains certain Legislative Branch documents that are protected by the Constitution." Hastert demanded -- and received -- a meeting with President Bush. At the meeting, Hastert said he told the President the search was "unconstitutional" and demanded that the Justice Department "back up, and we need to go from there."