Old Ghosts Coming Back

This Mercury retrograde has yielded yet another scandal. The Washington Post reports that a federal grand jury has indicted former House Speaker Dennis Hastert on charges of breaking banking laws in a bid to pay $3.5 million in hush money to a young male student that he sexually molested while he worked as a wrestling coach at an Illinois high school.

From 2010 to 2014 Hastert, a highly paid and successful lobbyist for foreign countries at the lobbying firm of Dickson Shapiro, had made over 100 bank withdrawals of a little less than $10,000 each for a total of $950,000 paid to his victim.

Federal banking rules require you file a Currency Transaction Report for any withdrawal transaction over $10,000. This is a way to monitor criminal activity against your bank account. Hastert tried skirting around this requirement by breaking up his withdrawals into amounts that didn’t require reporting. This is known in the trade as “structured” transactions and is illegal. He subsequently went on to lie about it to the FBI when one of Hastert’s banks asked authorities to investigate his frequent withdrawals.

The timing of this news could not have been more poignant or compelling astrologically, coming in on the heels of Josh Duggar’s child sexual abuse scandal. Our current Mercury retrograde seems intent on digging up ghosts.

Neither Hastert’s money scandal or the sex scandal is new. But I can’t imagine what terrible weight it must have been holding onto this dark secret. Especially while leading a Republican congressional majority rising to power on Bill Clinton’s impeachment for lying about his sexual impropriety to Congress.

By holding onto the secret in his past, Hastert inadvertently brought down his own career as Speaker of the House, as well as the Republican stranglehold in Congress. Hastert — once thought to have the cleanest record, at least relatively, amongst party leadership — failed to act aggressively in the matter of Rep. Tom Foley of Florida. Foley was the congressman who attempted to molest and sexually harass young male pages working at the House of Representatives in 2005.

Recalling Hastert’s actions as Speaker during the time, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo speculates: “Set aside whether this past had any role in Hastert’s office’s laggard response to warnings about Foley. Hastert was hiding an explosive secret. He must have been terrified of exposure. A thundering denunciation of Foley would seem like the kind of move which almost would have invited a past victim to step forward. Perhaps that explains his reticence. At this point there’s no way to know.”

Dennis Hastert will be arraigned in court soon. As a wealthy lobbyist with connections and influence in Washington, he has strings to pull to help him out of this. Though I think with this retrograde, things will get sticky for him for awhile. But this and the Duggars’ scandal last week makes me wonder what people are thinking when they can run for public office. Or for that matter what they’re thinking when offered their own television show on a cable network.

Old sins come back to bite. We know power and money still corrupt and continue to hold sway in politics and in life. We know that ghosts come back to haunt, like chickens come back home to roost. There is often a price to pay when a person, family or political party claiming moral superiority falls from grace. Here, today, is yet another story.

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About Fe Bongolan

Planet Waves writer Fe Bongolan lives in Oakland, California. Her column, "Fe-911," has been featured on Planet Waves since 2008. As an actor and dramaturge, Fe is a core member of Cultural Odyssey's "The Medea Project -- Theater for Incarcerated Women," producing work that empowers the voices of all women in trouble, from ex-offenders, women with HIV-AIDS, to young girls and women at risk. A Planet Waves fan from almost the beginning of Eric's astrology career, Fe is a public sector employee who describes herself as a "mystical public servant." When it comes to art, culture and politics, she loves reading between the lines.

3 thoughts on “Old Ghosts Coming Back

  1. aWord

    Talk about ghosts, Fe. I worked for Dickstein, Shapiro (and Morin) way back “when” and have recollection of their participation in aspartame’s final approval (after its series of dis-approvals) Well and that opens another can of monkeys. (or dead lab rats as the case may be.)
    The last Full Moon brought in some pretty high tides–perhaps they are turning, or revealing what’s been long buried under sand.
    Thanks for the report.

    1. Fe Bongolan Post author

      A word:

      Is it me or is this retrograde just uncanny in digging out the skeletons? As our friend Len Wallick suggests, it might have dug out a few centaurs as well.

      Watching history through astrological eyes is fascinating.

  2. aWord

    It is uncanny! One of the first people I met in my new home is related to a prominent historical rebel. His skeletons not mine*, but a digging out, or exposure, nonetheless.
    *(as in recent conversations about baggage. With all the stuff surfacing, it seems more important than ever to know what’s whose!)

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