Hastert Was Trying to Cover Up Sexual Misconduct

Indicted former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) was paying an individual from his past to conceal sexual misconduct, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“One of the officials… said Individual A, as the person is described in Thursday’s federal indictment, was a man and that the alleged misconduct was unrelated to Hastert’s tenure in Congress. The actions date to Hastert’s time as a Yorkville, Ill., high school wrestling coach and teacher… The other official confirmed that the misconduct involved sexual abuse.”

The New York Times says that Hastert “was paying a man to not say publicly that Mr. Hastert had sexually abused him decades ago.”

Meanwhile, BuzzFeed reports investigators considered including a second victim in indictment but ultimately chose not to.

The Supreme Court Could Give GOP More House Seats

The Supreme Court “surprised election-law experts and said it would hear arguments this fall about whether voting districts should continue to be drawn by using census population data, which include noncitizen immigrants who are in the United States both legally and illegally, or whether the system should be changed to count only citizens who are eligible to vote, as conservative challengers are seeking,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“In California and other states with large noncitizen populations, a switch in who gets counted could have a huge effect.”

FiveThirtyEight: “A move toward counting only eligible voters, as logistically difficult as it may be, would drastically shift political power away from the urban environs with minorities and noncitizens, and toward whiter areas with larger native-born populations. That’s bad news for Democrats: Of the 50 congressional districts with the lowest shares of eligible voters, 41 are occupied by Democrats (nearly all are Latino-majority seats). Meanwhile, of the 50 districts with the highest shares of eligible voters, 38 are represented by the GOP.”

Cuba Removed from Terror List

“Cuba’s designation by U.S. officials as a state sponsor of terror was officially lifted, the State Department said, clearing a hurdle to re-establishing diplomatic ties between Washington and Havana,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“President Obama recommended to Congress last month that Cuba be removed from the U.S. list, triggering a 45-day congressional notification period in which lawmakers could have challenged the decision. Though Mr. Obama’s Cuba policy has opponents on both sides of the aisle, lawmakers didn’t take steps to do so. The two governments continue to negotiate over the re-establishment of embassies.”

O’Malley to Join Race This Weekend

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) will become the third candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination this weekend, joining Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Harry Enten: “O’Malley is a star in Democratic primary polls. But that’s not a good thing. Pollsters give candidates a ‘*’ symbol when they get less than 1 percent support. So just how is O’Malley going to fight all the way back against Hillary Clinton? Reportedly by offering a more progressive vision and running to Clinton’s left. There’s one main problem with this strategy: It makes no sense.”

Rand Paul Can’t Find a Sugar Daddy

“In a presidential campaign defined by billionaire sugar daddy donors, Rand Paul has a problem: He doesn’t seem to have one,” Politico reports.

“While his rivals cultivate wealthy backers who will pump millions of dollars into their candidacies, Paul has struggled to find a similar lifeline. It’s led to considerable frustration in his campaign, which, amid rising concerns that it will not be able to compete financially, finds itself leaning heavily on the network of small donors who powered his father’s insurgent White House bids.”

“It hasn’t been for lack of trying. In recent months, Paul has sought to woo a string of powerful Republican megadonors — from Silicon Valley executives to a Kentucky coal mogul to the billionaire Koch brothers — who, it was believed, would be philosophically aligned with his free-market views. In each case, he met disappointment.”

Hastert Indictment Another Blow to Congress’ Image

First Read: “If you thought Congress’ image couldn’t get worse, well think again. Average Americans who think the place is filled with crooks and creeps may have more ammo. The irony here, as others have pointed out: Hastert became speaker in the late 90s due to scandal, he lost the majority (in part) to another GOP scandal, and he now finds himself in his own scandal — after leaving office.”

Rick Klein: “Scandal-plagued is practically an automatic addendum to define the Hastert years, from Newt Gingrich to Bob Livingston to Tom DeLay to Bob Ney to Duke Cunningham to Mark Foley. But the speaker himself was never a direct part – until now. The indictment of Dennis Hastert qualifies as a true bombshell, with far more questions than answers the day after the news broke. Among the biggest surprises is that Hastert appears to have had something worth millions to him to cover up from his distant past. How would have or could have a secret like that have survived FBI background checks and teams of opposition researchers for decades? And how could Hastert not have realized that the massive cash payouts wouldn’t have drawn scrutiny? Unlike the so-called ‘culture of corruption’ years, which contributed to the Democratic takeover of Hastert’s House, this looks like a deeply personal – and sad – story that’s playing out.”

Bush Outsourced His Campaign Before

“As Jeb Bush circa 2015 considers pushing the campaign finance envelope by offloading expenses to an outside group, he has a ready model to emulate: Jeb Bush circa 1998,” National Journal reports.

“That’s the year the Republican Party of Florida paid for his TV ads, his polling, and even his campaign staff’s salaries as he ran for governor. The advantage was millions of extra dollars. There was a $500 limit on individual contributions to Bush’s regular campaign, but the state party could accept unlimited contributions from individuals and corporations. So Bush spent less time at fundraisers than in his previous run, but socked away far more money thanks to five- and six-figure checks.”

Sanders Wrote About Rape Fantasies

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) campaign tried to distance the presidential candidate from a 1972 essay in which he wrote — among other things — a women “fantasizes being raped by three men simultaneously,” CNN reports.

A campaign spokesman said the article was a “dumb attempt at dark satire in an alternative publication” that “in no way reflects his views or record on women.”

Clinton Award Under Scrutiny

Bill Clinton agreed to accept a lifetime achievement award only after Petra Nemcova, the event organizer, offered a $500,000 contribution to the Clinton Foundation, the New York Times reports.

“The donation, made late last year after the foundation sent the charity an invoice, amounted to almost a quarter of the evening’s net proceeds — enough to build 10 preschools in Indonesia. Happy Hearts’ former executive director believes the transaction was a ‘quid pro quo,’ which rerouted donations intended for a small charity with the concrete mission of rebuilding schools after natural disasters to a large foundation with a broader agenda and a budget 100 times bigger.”

Sunday Showdown in the Senate

“The Senate is heading for a tense and unusual Sunday showdown over the expiring antiterrorism surveillance powers of the National Security Agency, and Senator Mitch McConnell, five months into his tenure as majority leader, has a lot on the line,” the New York Times reports.

“The Senate ended up in a post-midnight stalemate over the N.S.A. just before its Memorial Day recess. Now Mr. McConnell has called his colleagues back for the first Sunday meeting since late 2013, to try to untangle the mess just hours before a June 1 deadline. The outcome is far from certain.”

Christie Reverses Position on Common Core

Gov. Chris Christie (R) “proposed dropping national Common Core education standards he once supported but have since become a lighting rod issue for Republican voters,” the Newark Star Ledger reports.

Christie declared Common Core is “simply not working” and said he wants to develop a state-based group to develop “new standards right here in New Jersey, not 200 miles away on the banks of the Potomac River.”