Taxpayers Send $40K a Month to Ex-speaker, Now Lobbyist
Dennis Hastert gets paid by both sides
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2009 8:00 AM CST
Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., announces that he will not seek reelection for a 12th term in Yorkville, Ill., Friday, Aug. 17, 2007.   (AP Photo/Brian Kersey)

(Newser) – Taxpayers are doling out more than $40,000 a month to pay for Dennis Hastert’s office, staff, cell phone, SUV, and satellite TV subscriptions—even though the ex-speaker of the House now works as a lobbyist. It’s a troubling situation, ethics experts tell Politico, because though the law provides all those perks for five years after a speaker leaves office, it also prohibits federal money from paying for lobbying operations.

In other words, Hastert can have the perks legally, as long as he doesn’t use any of them for his lobbying work. “That all needs to be above board, in the clear and transparent,” says one government watchdog, “And it’s not.” A Hastert spokesman says the ex-speaker keeps the perks separate, but admits that Hastert doesn’t have any office in Illinois other than the one the government pays for.