The biggest scandal involving former House Speaker Dennis Hastert has little to do with the one he faced in a U.S. courthouse in Chicago this week.Continue reading
Prairie Parkway dead?
So says Chicago Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet:
In 2005, former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) stuffed a $207 million earmark in a federal highway bill to help pay for the road, estimated to cost $1 billion to build. The 37-mile highway would roll through Kane and Kendall Counties, linking I-80 and I-88, the Reagan Memorial Tollway.
Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.), who replaced Hastert, said Wednesday there is "a near consensus in the area," that "the first priority for money being spent on roads is probably not in that (Prairie Parkway) corridor but rather beefing up the existing north south ...Continue reading
Former Speaker Hastert Announces Retirement, Lauds Earmarks
Rep. Dennis Hastert announced today that he will not seek another term in Congress. In his farewell address on the steps of the old Kendall County courthouse, Hastert cited some of his accomplishments over more than 20 years in Congress. Here's the text from Hastert's Web site, with a few links I've provided:
Locally, we have invested in area hospitals and schools, making quality health care more accessible and improving education. From the city of Aurora to the Village of Prophetstown, we have provided Police and Fire First Responders with the resources they need to respond to crises and protect their residents. We worked directly with community residents to address local challenges such as the thorium cleanup in West Chicago**. We have advocated for local use of alternative fuel sources, like corn-based Ethanol and assisted Fermi National Laboratory in advancing its physics research. Our communities are among the fastest growing in the nation, so we have built roads and bridges, and expanded Metra service to avoid congestion and move people from place to place – benefiting our economy and protecting our quality of life.It's not clear that any of those earmarks (save for the Prairie Parkway) were actually the handiwork of the former speaker. In fact, the lack of transparency in the earmarking process will also be one of Hastert's legacies--such preference for secrecy and unaccountability may well have contributed to the end of his tenure as speaker. It would be curious to see how many other accomplishments he cited were managed through earmarked appropriations. Continue reading