Ex-House Speaker Hastert Finds New Home

Former House Majority Leader Dennis Hastert settled in yesterday to new digs in the Washington, D.C. offices of Dickstein Shapiro, a law/lobby firm.

Hastert was said to have been the longest-serving Republican House Majority Leader in history, holding the post from January 1999 to November 2006, when Democrats wrested control of the House away from the GOP in the midterm elections.

Hastert's time as a leader on Capitol Hill was brushed by multiple scandals. Perhaps the most damaging came from Hastert's reported failure to act on knowledge of inappropriate contacts between then-Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., and teenaged former House pages, as confirmed by the House ethics committee's report on the matter. Hastert disputed the report's conclusion.

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A 2003 letter Hastert wrote aiding certain Indian tribes threatened to draw him into the Abramoff scandal; Hastert denied wrongdoing. ABC News reported in May 2006 that Hastert had come under investigation in connection with the Abramoff probe. Justice Department officials initially denied he was under investigation, but later said he was "in the mix." No charges were brought.

In 2006, reporters and good government groups made hay over Hastert's involvement in funding a highway project, which helped him make $2 million when he sold land he owned nearby. Hastert's lawyer said there was no connection between the highway project and the land deal.

A 2005 Vanity Fair article alleged Turkish groups and individuals at the Turkish Consulate in Washington, D.C. had discussed funneling tens of thousands of dollars to Hastert in exchange for political favors; his spokesman at the time denied Hastert had any knowledge of Turkish groups and had done no favors.

Hastert's new firm has done work for the government of Turkey and Turkish companies, a spokesperson confirmed Monday. She could not say whether or not Hastert would be working on projects involving that country.

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