Amid scandal, Rep. Hastert plans resignation

Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois), a player in a string of Republican scandals on Capitol Hill, plans to announce his resignation on Friday.

Hastert, the former speaker of the House, accepted campaign contributions from convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. He then wrote a letter to former Interior Secretary Gale Norton warning against off-reservation land acquisitions.

Hastert also sponsored a bill to extinguish all treaty rights in Illinois. He did so after an Interior Department attorney cited the strong claims of tribes to land in the state.

Hastert spoke out repeatedly against tribes seeking to re-establish ties in Illinois. But after Republicans lost the House in November 2006, Hastert appeared at a public meeting with the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation of Kansas, which has purchased land within an ancestral reservation in Illinois.

Hastert recently backed a bill to prevent the NCAA from sanctioning schools with Indian mascots. The controversial Chief Illiniwek mascot of the University of Illinois is opposed by Indian students and tribes.

Hastert was widely blamed for mishandling the Congressional page scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Florida).

Get the Story:
Hastert Rules Out Another Run (The Washington Post 8/15)
Hastert Will Not Seek New Congressional Term (The New York Times 8/15)

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