-- The Illinois state legislature scrapped plans to construct a statue of Dennis Hastert earlier this month after the former U.S. House speaker asked that the project not move forward.
The Democratic speaker of the Illinois House, Michael Madigan, had put forward a bill in early May proposing that $500,000 be set aside to place a statue of Hastert in the Illinois state Capitol. But soon thereafter, he withdrew the proposal at the request of Hastert, whom the feds accused this week of lying to FBI agents and trying to hide financial transactions intended to keep prior misconduct secret.
“About a month ago, the speaker contacted this office and asked that the whole [statue] idea be deferred,” Madigan spokesman Steve Brown told ABC News. “So, we honored that request.”
Brown said Hastert cited “the state’s fiscal condition” in making the case that the project not move forward. “He thought the state’s fiscal condition made it a not wise use of state funds,” he said.
Though Madigan’s office did not question Hastert’s reasoning, Brown said they had no concerns about the financial viability of the statue project. “We thought it was appropriate,” Brown said of the $500,000that would have gone to the statue’s construction.
Madigan served alongside Hastert in the Illinois legislature in 1980s. He has declined to comment on Hastert’s recent indictment.