Hastert statue shelved at Illinois Capitol
The Illinois House has put on hold a proposal to spend $500,000 to put a statue in the state Capitol honoring Republican Dennis Hastert after the former U.S. House speaker declined the offer.
Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan filed a bill May 5 to set aside the money, and the measure got out of a committee two weeks ago. Then Hastert, who served in the Illinois House during the early 1980s with Madigan before being elected to Congress, contacted his former colleagues.
"(Hastert) called a month or so ago and said he appreciated the recognition and honor, but asked us to defer given the state’s financial condition,” Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said.
Brown would not say whether the effort is now scuttled following Hastert’s indictment Thursday on federal charges alleging he agreed to pay $3.5 million in apparent hush money to a longtime acquaintance, then lied to the FBI when asked about suspicious cash withdrawals from several banks.
Brown said the matter had already been shelved over budget concerns. The state faces a multibillion-dollar deficit, and Democrats led by Madigan are pushing forward with a new budget that calls for spending at least $3 billion more in cash than the state has on hand.
Hastert, 73, was speaker of the U.S. House from 1999 to 2007.
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