Taxpayers Finance Former House Speaker’s Lobbying Biz
DECEMBER 22, 2009
In a scandalous arrangement that’s sure to outrage Americans nationwide, a former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives gets tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars monthly to work as a lobbyist and foreign agent of a Middle Eastern country run by an Islamist regime.
The U.S. government gives former House Speaker Dennis Hastert more than $40,000 a month to pay for office space, staff, cell phones and a sports utility vehicle while he works as a lobbyist for private corporations and foreign governments. A Virginia-based news organization dedicated to covering politics broke the story this week.
The payments are actually legal under a 1975 federal law that provides a lucrative public allowance for House Speakers to set up and operate an office for five years after leaving office. Hastert, an Illinois Republican who was speaker from 1999 to 2007, uses the money to pay for an office in his home state, pay the six-figure salaries of three assistants, satellite television service and to lease a sports utility vehicle.
Hastert is not supposed to use his government-funded perks to do any lobbying work, but he probably does since he has no other office or assistants set aside for his hectic lobbying business. Each of his three assistants made more than $100,000 last year and the government dished out an additional $2,000 a month for a “consulting firm” run by several of Hastert’s former congressional aides. American taxpayers also spent thousands on office computers, laptops a printer and other supplies utilized by his private firm.
Hastert, who spent two decades in Congress, is a registered foreign agent who represents in Washington the interests of the governments of Turkey and Luxembourg. He also lobbies on behalf of three major U.S. corporations. With a number of active terrorist groups, Turkey is run by an Islamist regime that supports Iran—not the United States—on the contentious nuclear arms issue.
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