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Sat May 30, 2015, 11:13 PM

Long before criminal indictment, Dennis Hastert had a Katrina problem

Even before his recent criminal indictment, former Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., was controversial in New Orleans. It dates back to Hurricane Katrina, when the then speaker told a local newspaper in Illinois that he didn't think rebuilding New Orleans was a good idea.

"It looks like a lot of that place could be bulldozed," he told the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights. Asked if the government should spend billions of dollars to rebuild," Hastert said: "I don't know. That doesn't make sense to me."

Hastert quickly backed off his initial comment, saying he wasn't advocating New Orleans be abandoned or relocated. He also apologized for missing a vote shortly after Katrina, in which the House approved over $10 billion in Katrina rebuilding funds.

A federal prosecutor in Illinois announced Thursday that Hastert had been indicted -- accused of trying to disguise bank withdrawals over $10,000 and then lying about the reasons for the withdrawals to the FBI. The real reason, the indictment said, was that Hastert in 2010 had agreed "to provide Individual A "$3.5 million in order to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct against Individual A."

Read more: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/05/senators_look_for_deal_on_govt.html

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