Dennis Hastert (R), former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

Timeline of Dennis Hastert’s Career & Criminal Case

Posted on:

< < Back to

Before he was indicted last May, former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was known primarily for rising from political obscurity in rural Illinois to the nation’s third-highest office, which he occupied for eight years. Some key events in Hastert’s life and career and the criminal case against him:


JAN. 2, 1942: Hastert is born in Aurora, Illinois, to a family that runs a farm-supply business.

1964: Hastert graduates from Wheaton College, a Christian school in the Chicago suburbs.

1965: Hastert begins teaching history at Yorkville High School, west of Chicago, and coaching wrestling.

1973: Hastert marries another Yorkville teacher named Jean. They eventually have two sons.

1976: Hastert is named Illinois Coach of the Year after leading Yorkville to the state wrestling championship.

1980: Hastert comes in third in state House primary, but the GOP chooses him to replace the fatally ill primary winner. Hastert later wins the general election.

1981: Hastert leaves Yorkville High School.

1986: Hastert is nominated to replace a Republican congressman who is battling cancer. He wins a close election.

1998: Hastert tells incumbent House Speaker Newt Gingrich that dissatisfaction in GOP ranks makes it unlikely the Georgia lawmaker will hold onto post. Gingrich resigns the next day.

1998: Hastert backs President Bill Clinton’s impeachment in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

1999: Hastert is elected House speaker.

2006: Republican Rep. Mark Foley resigns after allegations he sent sexually suggestive electronic messages to former male pages. Hastert denies reports he may have known about the allegations earlier.

2007: Hastert steps down as speaker after becoming longest-serving Republican in the position. The same year, the J. Dennis Hastert Center for Economics, Government and Public Policy is founded at Wheaton College.

2008: Hastert joins the prominent Washington-based lobbying firm of Dickstein Shapiro as senior adviser.

2010: Hastert allegedly agrees to pay a person identified only as “Individual A” $3.5 million to hide misconduct by Hastert against that person.

2010-2012: Hastert allegedly makes 15 withdrawals of $50,000 to pay Individual A $750,000 in total, paying the money in lump sums of $100,000 cash.

2012-2014: When Hastert learns any withdrawals over $10,000 are flagged, he allegedly begins withdrawing cash in increments just under $10,000 and uses the money to pay $952,000 to Individual A.

2013: The FBI and IRS start investigating Hastert on suspicion of violating banking reporting requirements.

DECEMBER 2014: Agents first question Hastert on Dec. 8 about the huge cash withdrawals. He allegedly says he’s taking the cash home because he doesn’t trust banks.

MAY 28, 2015: Hastert is indicted on one count of seeking to skirt bank reporting requirements and one count of lying to the FBI about the reason for his cash withdrawals.

MAY 31, 2015: Wheaton College strikes Hastert’s name from it public policy center, citing his indictment.

JUNE 9, 2015: Hastert pleads not guilty at his arraignment in federal court in Chicago.

JULY 14, 2015: At a court hearing, defense lawyer Thomas Green blames government leaks for media reports of past sexual misconduct by Hastert. He says the allegations could deprive Hastert of a fair trial.

OCT. 15, 2015: A defense attorney tells a federal judge that Hastert intends to plead guilty.

OCT. 28, 2015: Hastert pleads guilty to evading banking laws and agrees to a deal with federal prosecutors that recommends he serve no more than six months in prison. A judge, however, could go beyond that recommendation and sentence Hastert to as much as five years. Sentencing is set for Feb. 29.

DEC. 17, 2015: Hastert’s attorney says in a statement that Hastert had a stroke in early November and has been hospitalized ever since.

JAN. 28, 2016: The federal judge overseeing Hastert’s case agrees to delay sentencing until April 8 after Hastert’s attorneys say he nearly died from sepsis in November and was not released from the hospital until Jan. 15.

MARCH 16, 2016: The judge orders an independent review of Hastert’s medical records.

MARCH 22, 2016: The judge agrees to delay sentencing until April 27 after prosecutors say a man who says he was sexually abused by Hastert is leaning toward testifying at sentencing but has a conflict on April 8, according to a transcript of a closed-door meeting that for the first time links sex-abuse allegations to Hastert in court documents.

APRIL 6, 2016: Defense attorneys ask in a filing for a federal judge to spare Hastert time behind bars and sentence him to probation.

APRIL 8, 2016: Prosecutors confirm for the first time that Hastert paid hush-money to conceal sex abuse, saying he agreed to pay $3.5 million to a former student he sexually abused when the victim was 14 years old, in a filing that recommends he be sentenced to up to six months in prison for violating banking laws.


Source: Associated Press archives, court documents.