• Terence Guider-Shaw/Sun-Times Media
  • Hastert

Conversations with the morning paper . . .

It’s the top story on the front page, so the Tribune must think it’s a big deal, but I’m having trouble getting worked up over Wednesday’s revelations about Dennis Hastert.

“Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has conducted private business ventures through a little-known government office that has cost taxpayers about $1.8 million, a Tribune investigation has found.” Thus begins the report by Katherine Skiba and Todd Lighty.

As described by the Tribune, those business ventures involved some guys Hastert knew, didn’t amount to much, and came to nothing. What was arguably improper about them is that Hastert took a few meetings in his Office of the Former Speaker and a secretary there did some business-related research and e-mailing. The Tribune explains that “federal law allows former House speakers to maintain a government-financed office for up to five years to wind down matters relating to their tenure. They are not permitted to use the office for financial gain.”