blogs: bring Hastert down
it's time to re-publish Democrats.com 's take on the Hastert bribery claims:
Unlike his egomaniacal predecessor Newt Gingrich, House Speaker Denny Hastert likes to stay out of the limelight.
And for good reason. When Hastert opens his mouth, he tends to say cold-hearted things like "It looks like a lot of [New Orleans] could be bulldozed."
But is Denny Hastert's heart cold enough to take bribes to coverup Turkey's Armenian genocide?
According to an investigative report in Vanity Fair by David Rose, Hastert may have taken as much as $500,000 in campaign bribes in October 2000 to kill a Congressional resolution designating the killings of Armenians in Turkey between 1915 and 1923 a genocide.
According to Wikipedia, "Most estimations for the losses between 1915 to 1917-18 range from 600,000 —claimed mostly by the Government of Turkey and Turkish national historians— and from 1.2 to 1.5 million by most of the international community and the scholarship."
The Turkish government rejects the term "genocide," blaming instead "inter-ethnic strife, disease and famine during the turmoil of World War I." But dozens of countries call it "genocide," along with the European Parliament, the U.N., and many U.S. states.
But thanks to Denny Hastert, Congress refuses to call it genocide. And according to Vanity Fair, "a senior official at the Turkish Consulate is said to have claimed in one recording that the price for Hastert to withdraw the resolution would have been at least $500,000."
There is no question that Hastert pulled the Armenian genocide resolution off the floor of Congress on October 19, 2000, after it passed the International Relations Committee by a large majority. (Hastert blames Bill Clinton - as if Hastert ever did Clinton a single favor, besides trying to impeach him!)
The only question is whether he took campaign bribes to do it. As David Rose reported,
According to some of the wiretaps, the F.B.I.’s targets had arranged for tens of thousands of dollars to be paid to Hastert’s campaign funds in small checks. Under Federal Election Commission rules, donations of less than $200 are not required to be itemized in public filings.
Hastert himself was never heard in the recordings, Edmonds told investigators, and it is possible that the claims of covert payments were hollow boasts. Nevertheless, an examination of Hastert’s federal filings shows that the level of un-itemized payments his campaigns received over many years was relatively high. Between April 1996 and December 2002, un-itemized personal donations to the Hastert for Congress Committee amounted to $483,000.
In contrast, un-itemized contributions in the same period to the committee run on behalf of the House majority leader, Tom Delay, Republican of Texas, were only $99,000. An analysis of the filings of four other senior Republicans shows that only one, Clay Shaw of Florida, declared a higher total in un-itemized donations than Hastert over the same period: $552,000. The other three declared far less. Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Joe Barton, of Texas, claimed $265,000; Armed Services Committee chairman Duncan Hunter, of California, got $212,000; and Ways and Means Committee chairman Bill Thomas, of California, recorded $110,000.
Where there's smoke there's usually fire. And the smoke surrounding Hastert's role in this scandal is so thick you need a chainsaw to cut it.
This sounds like a perfect investigation for the progressive blogosphere, right?
- DemocracyNow's Amy Goodman interviewed David Rose and his source, FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds last August.
- On 2/7/06, BradBlog published the response from Hastert's lawyer Randy Evans, and a detailed rebuttal by Sibel Edmonds. (Scott Horton blogged on that)
I can think of lots of bloggers and activists who should be all over this story:
- All of the folks investigating Hastert's puppetmaster Tom DeLay, including CampaignMoney.org
- All the folks covering FBI histleblower Sibel Edmonds
- Josh Marshall of TalkingPointsMemo.com, the premier investigator of GOP Congressional scandals
- Laura Rozen of WarandPiece.com, who has done outstanding work on Duke Cunningham, Brent Wilkes & Co.
- Digby of Hullabalo, who understands GOP corruption better than anyone
- Joseph Cannon of Cannonfire, who can investigate a conspiracy better than anyone
- Larisa Alexandrovna of RawStory.com, one of the very first to investigate Jack Abramoff
- ReddHead of FireDogLake.com, who investigated Brent Wilkes
- Georgia10 of DailyKos.com, who is studying law in Chicago
- BuzzFlash.com, which is based in Chicago
- many others I can't think of off-hand
Let's get the blogosphere's top investigators on this story and help our heroic Australian cousin bring Hastert down!