Ex-U.S. Speaker Indicted

CHICAGO (AP) -

Federal prosecutors on Thursday announced the indictment of former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert for evading banking laws and lying to the FBI about payments he made to an unidentified person to conceal past misconduct. The indictment does not describe the misconduct Hastert was trying to conceal.

The details were included in an indictment in which the 73-year-old Illinois Republican is charged with two counts including withdrawing in cash in small amounts to evade the requirement that banks report cash transactions over $10,000. He’s also charged with lying to the FBI.

Each count of the indictment carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago.

The Associated Press left a phone message seeking comment with a person at Hastert’s Washington, D.C., office. It was not immediately returned. Hastert did not immediately return a message left on his cellphone seeking comment, or respond to an email.

From 2010 to 2014, Hastert withdrew a total of approximately $1.7 million in cash from various bank accounts and provided it to a person identified only as Individual A, according to the indictment. In December last year, “Hastert falsely stated that he was keeping the cash” when questioned by the FBI, the prosecutor’s statement says.

Hastert was a little known lawmaker Chicago when chosen to succeed Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

As speaker, Hastert pushed President George Bush’s legislative agenda, helping pass a massive tax cut and expanding Medicare prescription drug benefits.

He retired from Congress in 2007 after eight years as speaker.