This story is so back and forth. First it starts off with ABC's Brian Ross reporting this:
Federal officials say the Congressional bribery investigation now includes Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, based on information from convicted lobbyists who are now cooperating with the government.
Part of the investigation involves a letter Hastert wrote three years ago, urging the Secretary of the Interior to block a casino on an Indian reservation that would have competed with other tribes.
The other tribes were represented by convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff who reportedly has provided details of his dealings with Hastert as part of his plea agreement with the government.
This is nothing really new. There has been talk of Hastert being involved for months now, all this does is give us a little verification which is good.
Well this story comes out and shockingly enough the Justice Department issues an immediate denial:
The Justice Department denied a news report Wednesday that it was investigating House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
The statement by department spokeswoman Tasia Scolinos came in response to a report by ABC News that Hastert was under investigation by the FBI to determine his role in a public corruption probe centered around convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Amid a furor surrounding the weekend FBI raid on the offices of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., ABC quoted federal officials as saying information implicating Hastert was developed from convicted lobbyists now cooperating with the government.
What is shocking about this is the speed in which the Justice Department responded. It is also shocking that they responded at all. We have heard different names come and go as being investigated with Abramoff, Cunningham and even Fitzgerald. In the past none of these reports have been confirmed nor denied by the Justice Department.
So why has the Justice Department decided to break its silence regarding on going investigations? Perhaps the answer lies with the heat Hastert has been putting on them regarding the William Jefferson raid this past weekend:
"The Justice Department must immediately return the papers it unconstitutionally seized," House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.