Dennis Hastert: A Portrait of a Political System Termite by Sibel Edmonds

by Sibel Edmonds
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
originally published by Boiling Frogs Post
28 December 2009

The Erosion & Rotting of a Nation’s Foundation

While dictionaries and encyclopedias, including Wikipedia, provide a thorough definition and description of insect termites, none offers any information on the semi-human termites embedded within the political system of our nation, where they feed on the lobby and special interest Political Eco System while they cause serious foundational and structural damage to the welfare of the public majority, and to future generations’ prosperity and liberties. These Political System Termites (PST) and their colonies exist and thrive within various branches and layers of the political governing system, and they go by different names or titles, including Representative, Senator, Secretary, and Advisor. Regardless of title differences and purely cosmetic differentiations and technicalities, they belong to the same political eco system and all are considered members of the PST family. This article will focus mainly on Congressional Termites.

Let’s start by comparing some general overlapping characteristics between the widely acknowledged and recognized insect termites and the still-waiting-to-be recognized and defined Political System Termites (PST):

Insect termites divide labor among gender lines, produce overlapping generations and take care of their young collectively. Political System Termites divide their activities based on a corruption hierarchy, create networks of laws and legislations to protect themselves and the establishment, and protect one another collectively, including their retired then turned lobbyist seniors – regardless of cosmetic brand differentiations, such as ‘D’ or ‘R.’Insect termites are economically significant as pests that can cause serious structural damage to buildings, crops or plantation forests. Political System Termites are also economically and politically significant as pests that can create a seriously damaging web of laws and regulations particularly harmful to society at large, while sucking up taxpayers’ resources and trust, and betraying the people’s interests in exchange for establishment and external interest connected personal gain.

Insect termites live in colonies that, at maturity, number from several hundred to several million individuals. The potency of Political System Termites has a bit less to do with their actual numbers, and much more with the power and freedom granted to them by the very same victims they feed and extract upon. After all, PSTs are in charge of making the laws and rules governing their own existence and survival.

A typical insect termite colony contains nymph workers, soldiers, and reproductive individuals of both genders, sometimes containing several egg-laying queens. A typical Political System Termite colony may include a Speaker of the PST Colony, Chairmen and Chairwomen of sub-colonies, congressional larva (aka aids), and extended networking PSTs in media and PR colonies.

The most significant difference between insect termites and Political System Termites has to do with their ecology. While the former are important in nutrient recycling, habitat creation, soil formation and quality, the later is not known for any positive contribution to the human eco system, at least not in the last few decades. The only known habitats for Political System Termites are those marked by social deceases such as bribery, greed, prostitution, treason …

This should be enough for a preliminary albeit simplified scientific definition and general description of Political System Termites. I will leave further and more expanded descriptions and literature to sociologists and political scientists in academia, where time always seem to be abundant to formulate definitions and answers into long winded gobbledygook no one ever seems to understand, let alone critique.

Instead, I will provide you with a short portrait of a known Political System Termite which acted as the Speaker of the PST Colony of Capitol Hill for nearly a decade. This example should sufficiently illustrate how these termites go about eroding and rotting the nation’s foundation, while putting in place laws meant to ensure further and easier erosion by their larva, the future PSTs.

PST Dennis Hastert: A Portrait

Dennis Hastert, a Republican member of the US House of Representatives from 1987 until 2007, represented Illinois’ 14th Congressional District, and served as the Speaker of the House from 1999 to 2007.

Prior to his two-decade long career as a congressman, Hastert was a high school teacher in Chicago with a modest family income. Yet, somehow, he managed to become a multi-millionaire while in Congress: his financial net worth went from less than $270,000 in 1986 to an estimated $4 million to $17 million. No, this was not due to a rich wife or a sudden inheritance, nor was it due to winning a lottery. This fortune came about solely as a result of his activities as a Political System Termite. We will have more on this further down the article.

This PST, while hard at work with his comrade termites eroding and rotting the legislative foundation, while filling up his personal pockets with hard-earned taxpayers money and building a fortune, was involved in almost every major scandal involving the Capitol Hill PST Colony during the last decade: From the Jack Abramoff Scandal to the Mark Foley Disaster, from being pocketed by foreign government(s) to making millions in congressionally earmarked land deals.

Well, this PST may have had retired in 2007, but he is still sucking up taxpayers money, and not a meager amount. Let’s look at the latest on this PST and on our rotten system with real rotten laws drafted by even more rotten lawmakers to benefit the most rotten ones.

Last Monday Politico ran an exposé on Hastert, who’s been collecting and spending more than $40,000 of U.S. Taxpayers’ money per month, around half a million dollars of public money per year, while working for lobbyists and doing the usual dirty lobby work for foreign governments as a registered FOREIGN AGENT. That’s right. If you are not nauseated, disgusted, and outraged, then you haven’t really registered the significance of this ludicrous and appalling exposé. Let me quote directly from the article:

U.S. taxpayers are spending more than $40,000 per month on office space, staff, cell phones and a leased SUV for former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, even as he works as a lobbyist for private corporations and foreign governments.

Now, this is pretty rotten on its own, but here is why I characterized our lobby-serving anti-public political system rotten, and those crafting and drafting the laws serving this system and themselves, as PSTs:

The payments are perfectly legal under a federal law that provides five years of benefits for former speakers — but only if Hastert never makes use of his government-funded perks in the course of his lobbying work. Ethics experts say that sort of separation is hard to maintain.

Hastert “has to be meticulous in his schedule to make sure there is no bleed from his publicly subsidized office into his private practice,” said Kenneth Gross, a former Federal Election Commission general counsel and congressional ethics authority. Steve Ellis, vice president of the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense, called the arrangement “really concerning.”

“It is specifically prohibited — federal dollars can’t be spent on lobbying operations,” Ellis said. “We are paying for his staff [and] for a car, and we need to be very sure that he isn’t spending a dime of that money on lobbying operations. “That all needs to be above board, in the clear and transparent. And it’s not.”

So, what does Denny Boy have to say about all this:

Hastert declined to discuss the situation with POLITICO.

You must give the man credit; at least he’s been very consistent in never providing any answer, any comments, even any denial in every case – on every scandal, on every corruption case, and in regards to all never-investigated criminal deeds. This man’s record in this regard is so very long and his file of black deeds so very thick, so where do I begin and how much should I include?

Head Deep in Foreign Lobby Operations While in Office

I guess it is appropriate to start with a part of Hastert’s shady past (and obviously present) exposed by myself and by several other colleagues’ disclosures in the Vanity Fair article in September 2005:

It may be more than another embarrassing security scandal. One counter-intelligence official familiar with Edmonds’s case has told Vanity Fair that the F.B.I. opened an investigation into covert activities by Turkish nationals in the late 1990’s. That inquiry found evidence, mainly via wiretaps, of attempts to corrupt senior American politicians in at least two major cities—Washington and Chicago. Toward the end of 2001, Edmonds was asked to translate some of the thousands of calls that had been recorded by this operation, some dating back to 1997.

Sources familiar with this testimony say that, in addition to her allegations about the Dickersons, she reported hearing Turkish wiretap targets boast that they had a covert relationship with a very senior politician indeed—Dennis Hastert, Republican congressman from Illinois and Speaker of the House since 1999. The targets reportedly discussed giving Hastert tens of thousands of dollars in surreptitious payments in exchange for political favors and information.

Some of the calls reportedly contained what sounded like references to large scale drug shipments and other crimes. To a person who knew nothing about their context, the details were confusing and it wasn’t always clear what might be significant. One name, however, apparently stood out – a man the Turkish callers often referred to by the nickname “Denny boy.” It was the Republican congressman from Illinois and Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert. 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.

So, what did Dennis Hastert have to say about all this? Just his usual:

Hastert’s spokesman says the congressman withdrew the genocide resolution only because of the approach from Clinton, “and to insinuate anything else just doesn’t make any sense.” He adds that Hastert has no affiliation with the A.T.C. or other groups reportedly mentioned in the wiretaps: “He does not know these organizations.” Hastert is “unaware of Turkish interests making donations,” the spokesman says, and his staff has “not seen any pattern of donors with foreign names.”

Approximately two years after Hastert’s denying all this – his association and business deals with shady Turkish operatives and lobbyists – he resigned and immediately went on the payroll of these same shady Turkish operatives and lobbyists:

Washington – The firm of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R.-Ill.) will receive $35,000 a month to lobby for the Turkish government, the Hill newspaper reported on April 10 citing public filings made to the Department of Justice as part of the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA).

In August 2005, Vanity Fair magazine published a story referring to a federal investigation that looked into payments that Turkish diplomats allegedly discussed making to then-Speaker Hastert and others in U.S. government in an effort to prevent the Genocide resolution from passing in 2000.While the speaker’s staff denied any knowledge of the matter, in December 2005 Mr. Hastert shed himself of $70,000 in “tainted” campaign contributions, directing them to an unspecified charity, the Village Voice reported at the time. …

Okay, that’s enough background and highlights on Denny Boy betraying his country for cash and perks from other countries, the highly shady campaign contributions, and his nonverbal confession through actions – by becoming a foreign agent and lobbyist to those whose hands fed him throughout his years in public office. Let’s look at another scandalous incident involving this same Denny Hastert:

Neck Deep in Land-Deal Corruption

When Hastert, a former high school teacher, was first elected to Congress in 1986, he showed assets worth less than $270,000. By mid 2006, after his own real estate investments, Hastert’s net worth had increased to somewhere between $4 million to $17 million. Now, how did this happen? What kind of real estate investments are we talking about here? A very special kind, indeed!

Let’s take a look at an example of Señor Hastert’s not so savvy but so very corrupt and unethical land deal:

An investigation in June by the (Aurora) Beacon News, a sister paper to The Courier News, uncovered the land deals that netted the Yorkville Republican a $1.99 million profit.

In December 2005, Hastert sold for $2.48 million a 69-acre parcel of land he purchased in 2002, taking in a $1.7 million profit. Also that month, he sold for $627,000 a one-quarter interest in an adjacent 70-acre parcel he purchased in 2004, bringing him an additional $287,000 profit.

These deals came four months after Hastert helped earmark $207 million for the Prairie Parkway in the Federal Transportation Bill, which President George W. Bush signed while visiting the Fox Valley in the summer of 2005.

Here is another detailed account of this highly shady yet legal deal:

According to Hastert’s disclosure form and county property records, a 69-acre parcel was put into a trust, Little Rock Trust #225, on May 2, 2005.

Two months later, in July 2005, Hastert pushed the highway appropriation bill through a conference committee. On Aug. 6, 2005 President Bush appeared with Hastert at a ceremony in Illinois to celebrate the new highway’s funding. On Dec. 7, 2005 the trust sold the parcel of land to the developers.

That’s right; just like that!

Waist Deep in Jack Abramoff Scandal

Hastert and his PAC took more than $100,000 in contributions from Abramoff and his clients. In June 2003 Hastert, together with three other members of the GOP leadership, Tom DeLay, Roy Blunt, and Eric Cantor, signed and sent a letter to oppose Indian Casino expansion that would have cut into the profits of one of Abramoff’s clients. Interestingly, neither Hastert nor any of the signatories represented any tribal interests! Here are some more interesting facts on this particular case:

Seven days before writing the letter, on June 3, 2003, Hastert attended a fundraiser for his leadership PAC, Keep Our Majority, at Signatures, a restaurant owned by Jack Abramoff. Keep Our Majority collected “at least $21,500 for his Keep Our Majority political action committee from the lobbyist’s firm and tribal clients.” Hastert then failed for two years to report using the restaurant for fundraising, and did not reimburse for the cost as he is supposed to. In total Dennis Hastert and his PAC, Keep Our Majority, took in well over $100,000 in contributions from Abramoff and his clients. …

You may also remember this from a May 2006 report by ABC News:

Federal officials say the Congressional bribery investigation now includes Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, based on information from convicted lobbyists who are now cooperating with the government.

The letter was written shortly after a fund-raiser for Hastert at a restaurant owned by Abramoff. Abramoff and his clients contributed more than $26,000 at the time.The day Abramoff was indicted, Hastert denied any unlawful connection and said he would donate to charity any campaign contribution he had received from Abramoff and his clients. …

Consistent Denny! Always deny, and then, turn around and continue your shady and illegal operations bolder and even more daring than the previous ones!

Knee Deep in Mark Foley Disaster

During the early part of the Foley Scandal Hastert denied knowing about Foley’s Page problems, but later he was contradicted by several Republican members who said they’d briefed him on this matter directly. Hastert later changed his story and claimed he may have been told but did not remember the conversations. Good ole consistent Denny! In fact, the media and members of Congress called for his resignation as Speaker of the House. The actions of Hastert’s office were also the target of an investigation by the House Ethics Committee.

Not only was he involved in the scandal itself, but during his involvement Hastert used his campaign funds to pay for legal fees associated with the Foley Scandal. Here are a few excerpts from a MSM exposé:

According to FEC documents, Hastert last January initially failed to disclose that legal fees had wiped out the final bit of cash he had in his campaign account. The Illinois Republican and former high school wrestling coach filed an amended finance report in February showing that his ‘06 campaign had racked up $147,000 in legal expenses in connection with the Foley investigation. In order to avoid substantial fines (and further debt), Hastert quietly agreed last summer to shut down his campaign and pay a $1,000 penalty, the FEC documents show. When he publicly announced on August 17 that he wouldn’t be seeking re-election, Hastert didn’t mention his campaign’s legal debt from the Foley scandal, or the settlement his lawyers were brokering with the FEC. …

It wouldn’t be difficult to fill several volumes on PST Hastert’s shady business deals, his involvements in high-profile criminal and corruption scandals, and his not very legal connections to and serving of foreign governments and entities. Most likely someone will write it; some day.

Meanwhile, as characteristic of all Political System Termites, Hastert continues to suck the public’s resources, and although technically outside the colony, through ever-expanding and far-reaching PST webs and networks, he is still at work: rotting and eroding the system.

Also very characteristically, this PST’s larva, despite their widely known and acknowledged intellectual and reputational challenges, have been supported and courted into becoming PSTs within the same colony and its network. The oldest one, Joshua, became a lobbyist for Podesta-Mattoon with hot-shot clients such as Lockheed Martin, and all this while his dad served as the Speaker of the PST Colony. Another one, Ethan, who was arrested and cited in 2001 on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and other traffic violations, who also happened to work for Dick Cheney while his dad headed the PST colony on Capitol Hill, is now running for his father’s old seat, set to prove himself a PST worthy and qualified for the Capitol Hill Colony.

As you can see Political System Termites are far more potent and destructive than insect ones. Looking at them, examining the species, as we briefly did with the one sample-Dennis Hastert, makes us ponder the validity and the real intent of the laws we are accustomed to abiding by. These legislations/laws are being formulated and drafted by our system’s termites. So who are these laws meant to serve? Who are they to benefit? One might think of the Patriot Act, funding for war(s), earmarks for ‘national security’…

And finally, all of you, at least those of you who live here in the States, are familiar with spotting and getting rid of insect termites: have your house inspected, use exterminators and treat your home if any are present. In a way, it is easier with some of these Political System Termites. All one has to do: vote them out; especially when you’ve determined their status as a PST. Then, why is it PSTs like Hastert kept getting reelected, every two years, even after all the exposures and scandals? That my friends, is the real question.