CHICAGO — Dennis Hastert, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, is facing federal charges in an alleged attempt to conceal large bank withdrawals, used to pay an individual for past “misconduct” on the part of the former veteran politician, federal prosecutors announced on Thursday. (CBS Local - Chicago)I'll leave aside the salacious possibility of a closet homosexual pedophile high school coach turned famous politician now extorted by one of his victims. We don't really know what went on there, but I'm sure it will come out.
For this discussion, let's set aside the pedophilia allegation, and simply stipulate that Hastert wronged someone, and that someone demanded money from him to settle the issue.
Two other aspects disturb me
Both involve an overbearing government intruding in our private affairs:
1) A supposedly-free citizen's use of his own money is de facto and de jure tightly monitored and controlled by our Federal Big Brother
2) Law enforcement officials barge in to bust up a supposed extortion despite a lack of a complainant.
Whose Money is it, anyway?
Hastert was charged with structuring the withdrawal of $952,000 in cash in order to evade the requirement that banks report cash transactions over $10,000, and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his withdrawals.Why are there federal laws requiring us to report private financial transactions? Worse, why are there laws requiring banks to report on us without a search warrant?
Hastert, 73, was charged with one count each of structuring currency transactions to evade Currency Transaction Reports and making a false statement to the FBI, according to an indictment returned by a federal grand jury.
Do we still enjoy a presumption of innocence?
Is the 4th Amendment dead?
The feds moved in because they smelled an extortion of a public figure. If the public figure, who no longer controls any levers of power, says he does not wish to report a crime, why do they continue to pursue it?
Here's a hypothetical: Instead of trying to lie his way out of it, what if Hastert had told the FBI that he was withdrawing the money to pay an individual $3.5 million per a private agreement. Would they drop it? Should they? At that point, what business is it of the government?
I know what is at the root of this. Do you?
Related: AP News My Way - Hastert Indictment