I just emailed the following to Randall Evans, counsel to Speaker J. Dennis Hastert:
J. Randolph Evans McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP 1900 K Street NW Washington DC, 20006-1108
Dear Mr. Evans:
A full two days have passed since you accused us, in publishing details of Speaker Hastert’s use of an undisclosed trust to transact land deals in Plano, Ill., of “intentional and wilful (sic) conduct” “designed to injure the reputation of Speaker Hastert,” demanded that our “false, libelous and defamatory matter be immediately withdrawn and corrected,” and added that “[a]ll available remedies will be pursued for such conduct.”
In response to your prior correspondence, we have closely reviewed our story, “Dennis Hastert’s Real Estate Investments,” for any false, libelous or defamatory matter. We do not believe it contains any.
Obviously, we recognize that you would not make an idle threat solely for the purpose of intimidating an institution for publishing a story that was critical of your client. As we can only conclude that it is your professional opinion that there are genuine grounds for pursuing legal remedies, we ask that you please identify the specific passages in the aforementioned story that you regard as actionable.
We are also curious to know the precise identity of your client. Do you represent the office of the Speaker of the House, or J. Dennis Hastert as an individual, or the Hastert for Congress Committee? Are the fees you are earning in this matter paid from Speaker Hastert’s personal funds, from the budget or expense money allocated to the Speaker, or from money raised by his campaign committee?
A copy of this message has been posted on our Web site; you are more than welcome to respond to me privately via email or publicly on the site.
Bill Allison Senior Fellow The Sunlight Foundation