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Henry Hyde was the target of a federal corruption probe


The late Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.)--who represented a west suburban Chicago district--the father of the Hyde amendment--and the chairman of the House panel that impeached President Clinton--was the subject of a four-year FBI criminal probe in the 1970s, according to FBI files obtained by Gawker under the Freedom of Information Act. The investigation centered stemmed from Hyde's days in the Illinois legislature.

Excerpt from Gawker: "The probe, which was authorized at the highest levels of the Justice Department and has not been previously disclosed, involved the use of wiretaps and physical surveillance to nail Hyde for taking kickbacks from mob-affiliated state contractors when he was an Illinois state senator. Though the charges were brought before a grand jury, the Assistant U.S. Attorney overseeing the case abandoned it for lack of evidence in 1976, two years after Hyde was elected to Congress."


The outrageous hypocrisy of the GOP continues to devastate the credibility of the right. Even though he's turned into a raving lunatic of late, John McCain, prior to the 2008 campaign, might have been the only honest person on the right. If you recall, almost all 15 House Managers had their own skeletons, yet, found it necessary to impeach Clinton for lying about a blowjob. How do these assholes look in the mirror each day..??

It is a small point, but Hyde was never a state senator. He was in the House from 1967 to 1974. He challenged W. Robert Blair for Speaker of the House in 1973. He was elected to Congress in 1974.

What about investigating politicians still alive and still stealing? Why waste money and time on someone beyond punishment, go after the ones still alive.

This gawker stuff is a lot of research which must have consumed huge amounts of time and expense – but basically what does it actually signify? The FBI investigated Mr. Hyde who was a state representative - not a state senator. During that time Illinois politics had a lot of corruption – a secretary of state passes away and within his home shoe boxes full cash are discovered – Otto Kerner – once the Illinois governor – then a federal judge – goes off to federal prison – numerous other state senators, other public officials are being investigated – many are indicted – many off to jail – and two plus years after Hyde passes away – this gawker stuff published?

In 1974 he gets elected to Congress just after the Watergate scandal – so being one of the very few republican freshman members of Congress in 1974 – stuck in the basement of the Longworth building – really doesn’t posses much political clout to do much of anything. So the innuendo of using influence to stop further investigation simply doesn’t seem possible.

This gawker material seems to conclude that after 4 years of investigation – no additional crimes / leads ever arise. Hyde stayed in Congress for 34 years and most really corrupt elected officials are well into multi-tasking – but strangely – not this guy from the Illinois 6th district. No other payoffs noted -

So is the purpose of this material merely to blemish his posthumous reputation? It seems like somebody has an ax to grind - all this research - no mention of anything positive: voting to ban assault weapons,funding significant aid to Africa in dealing with its AIDS pandemic – and others - just mostly 37 year old potential “dirt”?

He took himself out of consideration of for the cabinet post – he wanted to remain in Congress and 10 years later became chairman of the Judiciary – and afterwards chairman of IR. The year after his retirement – a democratic controlled congress named one of the Capitol’s rooms after him – an even rarer honor compared to a Presidential Medal of Freedom award.

There are two sides to most things – knowing the motivation for releasing such stale material might make an interesting story too.

So,this all happened 35 years ago. Henry Hyde is dead. How is this news? How is it relevant to anything? Since you are bringing up old news, should we talk about Clinton, Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky and any other extra marital affair that Clinton lied about?

Should we talk about Obama showing the short form birth record, which is stated, but not official from the State of Hawaii? Where's the long form? The official birth record? Is it from Kenya, Russia, Canada, Indonesia? Is he a citizen of Indonesia as his grade school records indicate? Is his real name Barry Soetoro?

re JazzDrummer: I think the Democrats of this state still hold the lead in corruption. Although both sides are doing their best or worst? Think out of the box. Get rid of them all.

Having been a registered Democrat during Rep. Hyde's last election, I was proud to help campaign and vote for this man of honor. This was the last time that I was actively involved in Illinois politics. The current furver happening in both houses has re-invigorated my passions for a clear path for honest government. This doesn't make me a stounch Republican, but it does energize my belief that the conservatives of this country had it right all along-A belief that Democrats have yet to embrace. No wonder that congress has approval ratings in the teens !!

This is a very odd story with factual errors. First, Henry Hyde never served as a state senator in Illinois. He was a member of the House in the General Assembly. Second, he was mostly a colorful back bencher who lost to Robert Blair for Speaker and was hardly in a position to do favors for "mob-affiliated state contractors" when Democrat Gov. Dan Walker served from 1973 to 1977. since even if his party had been in the majority he was not on a committee that could influence the awarding of state contracts. So if there was any bribe, what was it for? The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois in 1976 was Jim Thompson who could have cared less about dropping an investigation just because a GOP member of Congress was involved. Full disclosure: I worked for the State Senate minority leader and did not have much contact with Hyde in the early 1970s but I did volunteer to be his press secretary when he ran for Congress in 1974 against former Cook County State's Attorney Ed Hanrahan. That said, I knew a great deal about Illinois GOP politics in Springfield in that era including knowing some things about FBI investigations of different lawmakers beause some times staff people were asked to testify or give background information. I never heard about this and the dates and and scenarios sound unconnected to anything I can remember from that era.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 30, 2010 9:21 AM.

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