This week, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, was sentenced to 15 months in prison for providing hush money to cover up his past of sexually abusing young boys as a teacher in Illinois. While current Speaker, Rep. Paul Ryan, was quick to extend the symbolic gesture of removing Hastert's picture from the speaker's lobby outside the U.S. House of Representatives floor last year, five months and one conviction later, Ryan, along with Rep. Sean Duffy continue to refuses to return the donations he received from Hastert over the years.
“As a parent, I am truly disgusted by Mr. Hastert’s actions. What he did to these young students and to the trust placed in him by the public is truly reprehensible,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning said on Friday. “We must never turn a blind eye to this kind of behavior or settle for merely symbolic gestures. Any person who has received contributions from Mr. Hastert must do the right thing and return them or give an equivalent amount to charity. "
Dennis Hastert served as Speaker of the House from 1999 to 2007, and gave $25,500 to Paul Ryan's campaign through his leadership fund from 1998 to 2012. Hastert's fund also gave $1,000 to Rep. Sean Duffy in 2012. To date, neither have returned the funds or announced any plans to do so. Illinois Republican, Sen. Mark Kirk, announced last June that he would donate a $10,000 Hastert donation to a nonprofit that helps provide after-school programs to children in the area.
"The Courts have done their job to bring Mr. Hastert to justice, now it's time for Reps. Paul Ryan and Sean Duffy to their public duty and completely cut ties with the disgraced Speaker by returning his contributions." Laning concluded.