View Full Version : Officials: Hastert "In the Mix" Of Congressional Bribery Investigation

05-24-2006, 06:52 PM
Officials: Hastert "In the Mix" of Congressional Bribery Investigation


(Gold9472: Does everybody remember September 2005's Vanity Fair article (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3637) about Sibel Edmonds? In it, they alleged that Dennis Hastert, the Speaker Of The House, was taking bribes from the American Turkish Council. They said they were "giving Hastert tens of thousands of dollars in surreptitious payments in exchange for political favors and information."

Not long after that article was released, the "Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3921)" filed a complaint "urging federal election officials to investigate whether House Speaker Dennis Hastert's campaign fund illegally accepted contributions from foreigners."

Amy Goodman (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3922) also interviewed Sibel after the Vanity Fair article, and discussed the allegations towards Dennis Hastert.

This is BIG news. A woman who was fired from her job, gagged more than anyone in American history, and has said (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2297), "once this issue [9/11] gets to be...investigated, you will be seeing certain [American] people that we know from this country standing trial; and they will be prosecuted criminally", may just have been given a HUGE dose of credibility.)

May 24, 2006 6:24 PM

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, 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.

The day Abramoff was indicted, Hastert denied any unlawful connection and said he would donate to charity any campaign contribution he had received from Abramoff and his clients.

A spokesman for Speaker Hastert told ABC News, "We are not aware of this. The Speaker has a long history and a well-documented record of opposing Indian Reservation shopping for casino gaming purposes."

This week, Hastert has been outspoken in his criticism of the FBI for its raid on the office of another congressman under investigation, Democrat William Jefferson of Louisiana.

"My opinion is that they took the wrong path, Hastert said of the FBI. "They need to back up, and we need to go from there."

ABC News' Rhonda Schwartz and Richard Esposito contributed to this report.

Click here to read Brian Ross' latest report on the bribery investigation into Rep. Jefferson.

Click here to see the charges on Abramoff's AmEx Bill.

Click here to check out the bribe menu of convicted Congressman Duke Cunningham.

05-24-2006, 09:01 PM
House Speaker not under investigation: Justice


42 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday denied a report that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert, is under investigation by the FBI in connection with a corruption probe.

ABC News, citing high level Justice Department sources, said information implicating Hastert had been developed from convicted lobbyists who are now cooperating with the government.

But department officials, who asked to not be identified, said the story was not accurate and that Hastert was not under investigation. "The story is wrong. Hastert is not under investigation," one official said.

05-24-2006, 09:07 PM
Hastert demands ABC retract story


WASHINGTON, May 24 -- Ron Bonjean, Communications Director for Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) issued the following statement regarding the ABC Nightly News story that aired this evening:

"The ABC News report is absolutely untrue. As confirmed by the Justice Department, 'Speaker Hastert is not under investigation by the Justice Department.' We are demanding a full retraction of the ABC News story. The Speaker's earlier statement issued today accurately reflects the facts regarding this matter."

05-24-2006, 09:29 PM
Multimillion dollar Abramoff client gave $50,000 to GOP after meeting with Bush, DeLay, Hastert and Lott

http://rawstory.com/news/2005/Multimillion_dollar_Abramoff_client_who_gave_0201. html

John Byrne and Ron Brynaert
Published: February 1, 2006

Abramoff firm gave $50,000 more to GOP congressional campaigns seven months after visits

Eleven million dollars can buy a lot of access in Washington. Especially if your lobbyist is Jack Abramoff.

Take Beningo Fitial, the current governor of the Northern Marianas Islands, a U.S. territory in the Pacific. He and his company, along with their trade lobby and funds doled out by the islands at his prodding, spent $11.5 million dollars lobbying Washington between 1995 and 2002. Now he says he wants his money back -- but he continues to maintain that Abramoff protected his island's interests.

Fitial—who became Speaker of the Marianas House after a coup organized by Abramoff’s associates and former aides of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay—was treated like a king.

In January 2001, Fitial enjoyed the inauguration of President George W. Bush.

Three months later, in April, Fitial met Bush a second time. He also met then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS). Then he stopped in for visit with Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL).

In other words—Abramoff seems to have arranged for a non-head of state for a tiny island in the Pacific to meet with the three most powerful men in the United States of America. But that’s not all: Fitial also met with then-Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX) and Senate Interior Department Appropriations Chairman Conrad Burns (R-MT). Fitial appears in photographs with Burns and Delay -- enlarged from tiny thumbnails in his hometown paper -- at left.

That, it seems -- along with a spate of legislative victories keeping the islands from U.S. jurisdiction -- is the value of $11 million dollars. Fitial, not surprisingly, has not been terribly critical of Abramoff since he pled guilty to myriad criminal charges, including fraud, tax evasion and bribing members of Congress.

Six months after his visit to Capitol Hill, Fitial’s family’s companies donated $50,000 to the National Senatorial Campaign Committee.

The following month, Abramoff’s firm, at the direction of former press secretary to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) Michael Scanlon, doled out $50,000 to the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. The Los Angeles Times reported last year that Scanlon secured Fitial's election by promising U.S. tax dollars as "bartering chips."

Fitial also chaired the islands' campaign to raise money for President Bush’s election. The AP reported last May that records show Abramoff’s Marianas lobbying team met members of the Bush Administration at least 195 times between February through November 2001.

A month before Bush was photographed with Fitial, he appointed Patrick Pizzella, a former Abramoff lieutenant, as Deputy Undersecretary of Labor. Pizzella worked the Marianas account with Abramoff; according to the New Republic, the former conservative lobbyist handpicked Pizzella for his Marianas lobbying team.

Asked about his meeting with Bush, Fitial told his local newspaper the Saipan Tribune, "This was a great opportunity to raise the CNMI's (Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands) concerns to the president directly. Indeed, when the President discussed our military's readiness, I made it clear to him that the people of the CNMI support the military's presence and exercises in the Northern Mariana Islands."

“The president,” Fitial added, “said he was very pleased to know that the CNMI is supporting the military's presence in the islands."

Fitial also said he was pleased most by the fact that Lott recalled their meeting in a previous year. He said, "I think our efforts in Washington will continue to pay off for the CNMI people.”

And pay off they did: The Mariana’s $11.5 million, channeled through Abramoff, crushed numerous attempts to impose minimum wage and labor laws on the island territory. The tropical hotspot where Tom DeLay spent New Years in 1998 playing golf remains a haven for U.S. garment manufacturers—including Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Gap—who enjoy the loosely enforced minimum wage of $3.05.

But you wouldn't know that from the labels: all products made in the Commonwealth can be stamped "Made in the USA," thanks to the U.S. Congress.

The Marianas have since accused Abramoff and his staff of overcharging the islands for some $1.2 million in unsupported expenses. The charges included travel, telephone, photocopy, computer research and outside-professional fees. Pizzella was not named by auditors, though was among the most traveled members of Abramoff’s group.

But this didn’t stop now-Governor Fitial from defending Abramoff just last week when asked if he regretted working with the lobbyist. “I will not comment about what Abramoff did outside of the commonwealth,” Fitial told the Marianas Variety Online. “But if you ask me what he did for the commonwealth, (Abramoff) protected our Covenant.”

Covenant is Fitial's political party. Fitial was elected governor of the Northern Marianas in November.

Related Raw Story: "Photograph shows Bush meeting now-Governor of Marianas Islands, who helped Abramoff get millions"

05-24-2006, 09:32 PM

"The other four of the top-five largest individual recipients, all Republicans, were: Representative J. D. Hayworth of Arizona, co-chairman of the Congressional Native American Caucus ($69,620); Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi($65,500); House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois ($58,500); and Representative John T. Doolittle of California ($45,000). Several of them are reportedly targets of the Justice Department’s investigation, as is the man who was Abramoff’s main liaison at the Interior Department, former deputy secretary J. Steven Griles, a onetime miningindustry lobbyist who a high-ranking colleague told the Senate was Abramoff’s water carrier in the department."

05-24-2006, 10:13 PM
Who's lying?

05-24-2006, 11:51 PM
I can tell you Hastert is a bribable guy just by looking at him. He looks like Falwells twin brother.

05-25-2006, 08:37 AM
ABC News Update on Hastert Story


Brian Ross
May 24, 2006 10:21 PM

Richard Esposito and Rhonda Schwartz contributed to this report.

Despite a flat denial from the Department of Justice, federal law enforcement sources tonight said ABC News accurately reported that Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is "in the mix" in the FBI investigation of corruption in Congress.

Speaker Hastert said tonight the story was "absolutely untrue" and has demanded ABC News retract its story.

Law enforcement sources told ABC News that convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff has provided information to the FBI about Hastert and a number of other members of Congress that have broadened the scope of the investigation. Sources would not divulge details of the Abramoff’s information.

"You guys wrote the story very carefully but they are not reading it very carefully," a senior official said.

One focus involves a letter Hastert wrote in 2003 urging the Secretary of the Interior to block an Indian casino that would have competed with tribes represented by Abramoff.

The letter was written within days of a fund-raiser held for Hastert at Abramoff’s restaurant in Washington. Federal campaign records show more than $26,000 was raised at the time from Abramoff and his clients.

Hastert has denied doing anything unlawful and says he has a long history of opposing certain types of Indian casinos.

ABC’s law enforcement sources said the Justice Department denial was meant only to deny that Hastert was a formal “target” or “subject” of the investigation.

"Whether they like it or not, members of Congress, including Hastert, are under investigation," one federal official said tonight.

The investigation of Hastert’s relationship with Abramoff is in the early stages, according to these officials, and could eventually conclude that Abramoff’s information was unfounded.

Officials said the next logical investigative step would be for the FBI to seek a wide range of documents from the members of Congress named by Abramoff, including letters and business documents.

A spokesman for Hastert said the office had received no subpoenas or requests for documents.

05-25-2006, 08:49 AM
House Speaker Hastert under investigation: ABC


Wed May 24, 2006 7:08pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert, is under investigation by the FBI, which is probing corruption in Congress, ABC News reported on Wednesday.

ABC, citing high level Justice Department sources, said 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, urging the Secretary of the Interior to block a casino on an Indian reservation that would have competed with those of other tribes.

Hastert's Press Secretary told ABC in a statement: "We are not aware of this." Hastert's spokespeople were not immediately available for comment.

05-25-2006, 10:08 AM
Hastert aide: Probe rumor is retaliation


WASHINGTON, May 25 (UPI) -- An aide to U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., claims news reports Hastert is being probed in a lobbying scandal is payback by the Justice Department.

Wednesday night, ABC News reported sources at the Justice Department said Hastert was among those involved in a probe of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. In an unusual move, the department very quickly issued a denial.

Speaking to The Chicago Sun-Times, Hastert's deputy chief of staff Mike Stokke said he didn't blame ABC News for bad reporting but rather questioned the timing of the "leak." He referred to a stinging challenge Hastert and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., made on Sunday that the FBI surrender documents it seized during an unprecedented weekend raid on the office of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La.

"We've been in discussion with them since Sunday, with the Department of Justice, on this other matter of unconstitutional search and seizure." Stokke told the newspaper. "I don't recall any threats being made, but this is what is called in baseball a brushback pitch. ABC News got this from somewhere. I don't think they made this up."

05-25-2006, 01:49 PM
GOP Speaker Hastert accuses ABC of libel, defamation, says may take legal action


Published: Thursday May 25, 2006

Hastert Legal Letter To ABCNEWS President Westin, sent from Hastert Communications Director Ron Bonjean to RAW STORY.


David Westin
George Stephanopoulos
Brian Ross
ABC News
7 West 66th St.
New York, NY 10023

RE: False Story Regarding Justice Department Investigation

Dear Mr. Westin, Stephanopoulos, and Mr. Ross:

At 7:25 p.m., the Statement of the Department of Justice confirmed:

“Speaker Hastert is not under investigation by the Justice Department.”

At 10:21 p.m., you wrote:

“Whether they like it or not, members of Congress, including Hastert, are under investigation,” one federal official said tonight.”

This statement is false, and your republication of it after actual knowledge of its falsity constitutes libel and defamation. ABC News’ continued publication of this false information, after having actual knowledge of its falsity, evidences a specific and malicious intent to injure and damage Speaker Hastert’s reputation by continued repetition of a known falsehood.

We will take any and all actions necessary to rectify the harm ABC has caused and to hold those at ABC responsible for their conduct.

Please advise regarding who will accept service of process to remedy this intentional falsehood.

Very truly yours,
J. Randolph Evans
Stefan C. Passantino

05-26-2006, 08:40 AM
Bush woos fiery Hastert with 45-day cooldown


May 26, 2006

BY LYNN SWEET Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief

WASHINGTON -- President Bush ordered a 45-day cooling off period Thursday between Congress and the Justice Department in a battle over a lawmaker's seized documents, a bid to patch frayed relations between the White House and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert.

Hastert, usually a Bush loyalist, on Thursday accused the Justice Department of trying to "intimidate" him by leaking information to ABC News. The leak was prompted, he said, by his complaints about a weekend FBI raid of Rep. William Jefferson's Capitol Hill office. The Louisiana Democrat is the target of an FBI corruption probe.

The Sun-Times learned that Hastert confronted Bush with his concerns over the FBI raid during the president's trip to Chicago on Monday to address the National Restaurant Association.

"Our government has not faced such a dilemma in more than two centuries," Bush said in a statement. "Yet after days of discussions, it is clear these differences will require more time to be worked out."

Rare bipartisan unity
Bush ordered the Jefferson records sealed for 45 days to allow time for the Justice Department and House leaders to work out a procedure that recognized what Bush called "the interest of a co-equal branch of government."

Hastert, in rare unity with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said the Jefferson office raid was an unprecedented intrusion that violated the Constitution's separation of powers clauses.

"What we want to do," Hastert (R-Ill.) said on Thursday, "is not protect people who broke the law. But we need to protect the division of powers and the Constitution of the United States. And that's one of the things I talked to the President about."

05-28-2006, 10:04 PM
Do you remember the Anthrax attacks? I wonder... I wonder if the Bush Administration is using the FBI to silence members of Congress... using their corruption against them?