Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert paid a man to conceal a sexual relationship they had while the man was a student at the high school where Hastert taught, a federal law enforcement official told NBC News on Friday.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity. Tribune reported earlier in the day that two unnamed federal officials said that Hastert paid a man from his past to conceal sexual misconduct.
Hastert was indicted Thursday on charges that he structured bank withdrawals to avoid federal reporting requirements and later lied about it to the FBI.
The indictment said that Hastert was paying an unidentified person from his past to conceal Hastert's "prior misconduct." The indictment did not specify the alleged misconduct or name the person.
The Yorkville, Illinois, school district where Hastert taught and coached wrestling from 1965 to 1981 said that it had "no knowledge of Mr. Hastert's alleged misconduct, nor has any individual contacted the District to report any such misconduct."
Needless to say, this is an ugly, hideous mess, and there's going to be a lot more. It's notable that the only reason Hastert became Speaker of the House in the first place was that after Newt Gingrich, the GOP rank and file went out of their way to find someone who wasn't mired in scandal.
Many questions remain, of course. The answer to those questions will raise more questions, I would think.