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Dennis Hastert Fast Facts

Here is a look at the life of Dennis Hastert, former Republican speaker of the House. Hastert was sentenced to 15 months in prison in a hush money case that revealed he was being accused of sexually abusing young boys while he was a teacher in Illinois.


Birth date: January 2, 1942

Birth place: Aurora, Illinois

Birth name: John Dennis Hastert

Father: Jack Hastert, former restaurant owner

Mother: Naomi (Nussle) Hastert

Marriage: Jean (Kahl) Hastert (1973-present)

Children: Ethan and Joshua

Education: Wheaton College, B.A., 1964; Northern Illinois University, M.S., 1967

Religion: Protestant

Other Facts

Goes by the nickname “Denny.”

Hastert is diabetic.

Was named Illinois Coach of the Year after leading the Yorkville High School wrestling team to the state championship.

Instituted the so-called “Hastert Rule,” an informal guideline where only legislation supported by “the majority of the majority” party is brought to a vote on the House floor.


1964-1980 – Wrestling and football coach and government/history teacher at Yorkville High School.

1980-1986 – Member of the Illinois House of Representatives.

January 3, 1987-November 26, 2007 – US representative from Illinois’ 14th congressional district.

1995-1999 – House chief deputy minority whip.

January 6, 1999 – Is elected speaker of the House, replacing Newt Gingrich.

November 22, 2003 – Hastert fights hard to secure passage of a Medicare bill in the House. The vote takes three hours and lasts well into the night. It is signed into law by US President George W. Bush on December 8 after also being passed by the Senate.

January 3, 2006 – Donates $70,000 of campaign contributions from companies associated with lobbyist Jack Abramoff to charity after Abramoff pleads guilty to corruption charges.

June 1, 2006 – Surpasses Joe Cannon to become the longest-serving Republican speaker of the House in US history.

October 3, 2006 – Appears on “The Rush Limbaugh Show” and says he has no intention of resigning due to the controversy over Rep. Mark Foley’s (D-FL) sexually explicit emails to underage pages.

November 7, 2006 – Is reelected to his eleventh term in Congress. Republicans lose their majority in the House, so Hastert loses his position as speaker of the House when the new Congress begins on January 4, 2007.

August 17, 2007 – Announces that he will not run for reelection in 2008.

November 15, 2007 – Announces his resignation on the House floor. He formally resigns on November 26 after 20 years in office.

June 2008 – Joins the Washington lobbying firm of Dickstein Shapiro as a senior adviser.

June 8, 2009 – Hastert’s son, Ethan, announces he will run for his father’s former congressional seat but later loses in the GOP primary.

May 7, 2010 – Hastert is conferred the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun by Emperor Akihito of Japan.

May 28, 2015 – Federal officials indict Hastert for lying to the FBI about $3.5 million he agreed to pay to an undisclosed subject to “cover up past misconduct.” The Justice Department alleges that Hastert paid the subject a total of about $1.7 million over a period of years beginning in 2010 and ending in 2014. Hastert resigns from the lobbying firm Dickstein Shapiro.

May 29, 2015 – Sources with knowledge of the federal investigation tell CNN Hastert was paying a former student to keep quiet about allegations of sexual misconduct from the time when Hastert was a teacher and wrestling coach in Illinois.

June 9, 2015 – Pleads not guilty to all charges related to lying to the FBI about $3.5 million he agreed to pay to an undisclosed subject.

October 28, 2015 – Hastert pleads guilty to structuring money transactions in a way to evade requirements to report where the money was going.

December 17, 2015 – A statement is released announcing that Hastert was admitted to the hospital in the first week of November 2015. He was treated for a stroke and sepsis. This was followed by two back surgeries.

April 8, 2016 – Documents released by prosecutors allege Hastert sexually abused at least four boys when he coached high school wrestling in Illinois.

April 25, 2016 – Hastert is sued by a former student in Illinois Circuit Court. The former student seeks to collect $1.8 million. This is the remainder of the $3.5 million promised him for covering up Hastert’s past misconduct.

April 27, 2016 – Hastert is sentenced to 15 months in prison. He is ordered to pay $250,000 to a victims’ fund, must serve two years of supervised release once he finishes his prison term, and enter a sex offender treatment program.

June 22, 2016 – Hastert begins serving his 15-month sentence at a federal medical prison in Rochester, Minnesota.

July 18, 2017 – Is released from prison and is placed under the supervision of a residential reentry management field office in Chicago.

November 20, 2017 – A judge in Kendall County, Illinois, throws out a lawsuit brought by a man who claims Hastert abused him when he was a child, saying the statute of limitations had passed.

December 12, 2017 – New court-ordered restrictions ban Hastert from having contact with anyone under 18 unless an adult is present who’s aware that he pleaded guilty in the hush money case.

September 10, 2019 – A judge in Kendall County, Illinois, rules that a lawsuit over the terms of a $3.5 million hush money deal can go to trial. One of Hastert’s former students filed the lawsuit in April 2016.

Article Topic Follows: National Politics

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