WASHINGTONIt’s clearly tougher to replenish a political warchest as a former speaker in a minority party.
Former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) who will announced in a few weeks whether he will seek another term, only has $75,673 cash-on-hand in his campaign fund, depleted in part because of legal costs associated with defending himself in the Mark Foley page sex scandal.
Contrast Hasterts cash-on-hand with two Illinois Democrats from safe districts:: Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) Hasterts nemesis who ran the House political operation that cost the GOP the House in 2006 (and now the number four leader in the House) has $1,265,695 cash-on-hand; Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) a power on the Transportation Committee has the biggest stockpile in the Illinois delegation: $1,700,662.
Hasterts warchest was drained because of large legal bills related to defending himself in the investigation of the Mark Foley page scandal, where the former Florida House member last year got caught sending suggestive e-mails and instant messages to young men. Hastert ended up testifying before a House ethics panel probing what House leaders knew when about warnings over Foley’s conduct.
The Hastert committee paid $59,884 to the law firm of McKenna Long & Aldridge for legal services during the second quarter this year.The Atlanta firm has long represented Hastert. Hastert’s committee paid $35,388 in April and $24,497 in May.
Hastert raised $257,946, with his last fund-raiser in Washington in late June.
Hastert held a $25-a-ticket farmers picnic in the district last Friday that drew 700 people
but after the June 30 second quarter reporting deadline.