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Dennis Hastert

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So Hastert has pleaded guilty to one of the two counts in front of him.

I'm not at all an expert in the federal criminal laws designed to protect the banking system but I'll say this, I find certain aspects of this case odd.

They won't be clarified by the sort of investigation now under way by various media outlets, because what those outlets seem to be interested in is: what did Hastert do that made him the extortion target? They want to uncover precisely the res that Hastert has worked so hard to hide all these years, and ideally give a name and face to the blackmailer and victim (everyone is assuming arguendo that they are the same person, or at least that they are kin). That's just gossip at this point.

Hastert has pleaded guilty to structuring his withdrawals in such a way as to avoid reporting requirements. But isn't it generally lawful to act in such a way as to avoid breaking the law? This seems an odd sort of offense. I am reminded somewhat of Robin Williams, in character as the genie in Aladdin, cautioning the aponymous hero of that story, "ixnay on wishing for more wishes."

If Big Brother says, "your withdrawals are an issue for the public if you do X," then doing anything short of X would seem to leave your withdrawals a non-public matter. Or the creation of the rules with X in them would seem hypocritical.  

It is just a happy irony that Hastert is in the news again at a moment when the House is selecting itself a new Speaker, who is vowing to obey something known as the Hastert Rule. Which has no direct connection to banking or extortion.

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