Category Archives: The Law

Dennis Hastert May be a Creep, but Structuring Shouldn’t be a Crime

Sorry this is a bit late, but I’ve had only intermittent computer access recently, so I haven’t had time to post my thoughts. This is what I posted on Facebook when I first heard about Hastert’s indictment:

The indictment against Dennis Hastert is garbage. He is accused of “structuring” bank transactions so they would be below the reporting limits, a.k.a. common sense. He was moving money so he could allegedly pay someone hush money. Structuring is one of those “crimes” that isn’t really a crime in and of itself, but is used to facilitate some other crime. As far as I know paying someone hush money is not illegal. So how ’bout we not charge non-crimes unless they are actually used to facilitate real crimes.

Here we have the “structuring” charge rearing it’s ugly head again, and this is essentially the same thing I wrote in the Kent Hovind post below.

He was also charged with lying to investigators. This too shouldn’t be a crime, not because lying is OK, but because if you are guilty of something and you are brought in for questioning, you really only have three options – confess, lie or say nothing. So if lying to investigators is a crime and you don’t want to confess, your only real option is to say nothing. This essentially negates the presumption of innocence. Exercising your right to remain silent effectively makes you look guilty. As well, it criminalizes what is essentially the knee jerk reaction. The lying is a sin, but it is not the actual crime that is being investigated. Therefore it is one of those charges that can be tacked on to the the real charge to increase the potential sentence, or it can be the main crime if the investigators think you are guilty of something, but can’t prove it, but can prove you lied. This makes things far too easy for the authorities.

When it first came out that Hastert was paying hush money to someone for “misconduct” that reportedly occurred prior to him taking office, my first thought was that it probably had to do with sex and my next thought was that it likely was of the homosexual and/or underage variety. Now that it has come out that the issue was indiscretions that he engaged in with male wrestlers when he was a wrestling coach, it makes him a lot less sympathetic, and not the best person to use to rally the anti-structuring cause.

As for the alleged misconduct, apparently there had been persistent rumors about Hastert and inappropriate behavior with male wrestlers which caused him to leave the school before he entered politics. (The link is now available to subscribers only, but for some reason I was initially able to read it.) Once in politics, the rumors of prior indiscretions apparently persisted as well as rumors about his sexual orientation. I was unaware of these. You have to wonder why a person with such scandalous skeletons in his closet would chose to pursue a career in politics. And how did he then rise to such heights of power? Were his Republican colleagues not aware of these rumors when they elevated him to Speaker? Also, it makes you wonder, as Hawthorne suggested in a post below, if the Powers That Be may not deliberately seek out such people with a past because they know they can control them.