A recent FOX News documentary, entitled “Porked: Earmarks for Profit,” named former US House Speaker Dennis Hastert as one of a slew of lawmakers earmarking taxpayer dollars on projects that offer them not just political advantage, but personal financial gain.
Asbarez reported last week that Hastert has become the latest House member to join the army of Washington, DC public relations firms working to cover up Turkey’s crimes.
Dickstein Shapiro, LLP announced that the former Speaker joined their team in a press release last week. The firm, which represents a broad range of entities including General Motors, Kraft Foods and Pfizer, also represents the Government of Turkey “in connection with the development and financing by private sponsors of the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline and TransCaspian gas pipeline spanning from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean.”
The FOX news investigation revealed that In February 2004, Hastert, with partners and through a trust that did not bear his name, bought up 69 acres of land that adjoined his farm some 60 miles outside Chicago. The price was $340,000. In May 2005, Hastert transferred an additional 69 acres from his farm into the trust.
“Two months later, Congress passed a spending bill into which Hastert inserted a $207 million earmark to fund the %u218Prairie Parkway’ which, when completed, would run just a few miles from the 138 acres owned by Hastert’s trust,” revealed FOX News.
“After President Bush flew to Hastert’s district in August 2005 to sign the bill, Hastert and his partners flipped the land for what appeared to be a multi-million dollar profit,” added FOX News.
Other sources have reported that Hastert allegedly walked away with more than $3 million from the deal.
In an email to FOX News documentary unit producer Jason Kopp, Hastert’s attorney denied the claims–of course.
“As you might imagine we are very sensitive to even a suggestion, innuendo, or inference that Speaker Hastert’s work on the Prairie Parkway was improper or illegal,” attorney J. Randy Evans wrote to Kopp.
“The purpose of this communication is to be clear with you that any suggestion, direct or indirect, that there was any connection between Speaker Hastert’s longstanding support (which pre-dates his service in Congress) for the Praire Parkway project and his purchase of property adjoining his home (indeed, his residence) would be false and improper,” added the letter to Kopp.
No stranger to Turkish American issues, as Speaker, Hastert led efforts to block Armenian Genocide legislation from passage dating back to October of 2000, when he withdrew H.Res.596, introduced by Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA), from the Congressional docket just five minutes prior to its consideration. Speaker Hastert cited a letter from President Bill Clinton expressing concerns about the national security implications of the resolution. In his subsequent terms as Speaker, Hastert blocked a series of Armenian Genocide resolutions from reaching the House floor, despite widespread Congressional support and grassroots calls for legislative action. In 2004, when the House adopted an amendment to the foreign aid bill blocking Turkey’s use of U.S. funds for lobbying efforts to deny the Armenian Genocide, Hastert’s response was swift, joining with Majority Leader Blunt and Majority Whip Tom DeLay in sharply criticizing the measure: “Turkey has been a reliable ally of the United States for decades, and the deep foundation upon which our mutual economic and security relationship rests should not be disrupted by this amendment.”
In another incident, an expose printed in the September 2005 issue of Vanity Fair revealed possible ties between Speaker Hastert and Turkish nationals geared to scuttle the Armenian Genocide Resolution. The magazine published a 10-page story on FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, who was fired after “she accused a colleague of covering up illicit activity involving Turkish nationals.” According to the article by contributing editor David Rose, Edmonds claims FBI wiretaps revealed that the Turkish government and its allies boasted of bribing – with as much as $500,000 – the Speaker of the House of Representatives as part of an alleged deal to stop consideration of the Armenian Genocide Resolution.
Ex-Speaker Hastert is the latest in a long line of former House Members who have joined firms on the Turkish government’s payroll. Former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-MO) and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) at DLA Piper led efforts to block full House consideration of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 / S.res.106) for an annual fee of $1.2 million. Former House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bob Livingston of the Livingston Firm LLC, has, over the years, received over $12 million from the Turkish Government. He was recently let go by Turkey, and is now working for Libya.