Report: Dennis Hastert to retire

The former House speaker may be best remembered for making a mess of the Mark Foley scandal.

Published August 14, 2007 7:18PM (EDT)

It's not exactly Karl Rove-level news, but GOP sources tell that Dennis Hastert will announce his retirement from Congress Friday.

Hastert served as speaker of the House from 1998 until earlier this year, when he was replaced by Democrat Nancy Pelosi. Propped into power by Tom DeLay, Speaker Hastert was a reliable water carrier for the Bush administration and the Republican Party's right wing more generally.

In these parts, Hastert may be best remembered -- to the extent he's remembered at all -- for the bumbling way in which he handled the Mark Foley scandal in the weeks leading up the 2006 midterm elections. Without naming too many names, a House Ethics Committee investigation into the Foley case concluded that House Republicans and their staffs remained "willfully ignorant of the potential consequences of Rep. Foley's conduct with respect to House pages" and displayed a "disconcerting unwillingness to take responsibility for resolving issues regarding Rep. Foley's conduct."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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