Hastert Prosecution Is 'Overzealous'
Bill Press: His apparent crime is taking his own money out of the bank
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2015 6:24 PM CDT
A 2000 photo of Dennis Hastert.   (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)

(Newser) – Bill Press is a Democrat and knows he's supposed to be gloating about the prosecution of Dennis Hastert, but he just can't get there. Instead, this smacks of an "overzealous federal prosecutor," he writes at the Hill. If allegations that Hastert abused a student years ago are true, that's obviously heinous. Remember, though, that these charges have nothing to do with sexual abuse—they revolve around Hastert withdrawing his own cash from his own bank accounts. (It was allegedly to come up with hush money, which raises the question: Why hasn't anyone been charged with blackmail?)

It's a safe bet that the FBI got tipped off to the transactions and investigated because of the possibility that they involved Hastert's career in Congress, writes Press. Turns out, they didn't. It's also a safe bet that the only reason federal charges were filed is because Hastert is a high-profile politician. "Strange, isn’t it?" writes Press. "The Justice Department never prosecuted one single Wall Street executive in the wake of the recession, even after they destroyed the life savings of millions of Americans. Yet it went full bore after Hastert—for taking his own money out of the bank." Click for the full column.