Hastert Defends Profits by Claiming $207 Million Parkway Provides No Benefits for Nearby Homeowners

In 2005, House Speaker Dennis Hastert secured $207 million in federal funds to build the “Prairie Parkway” through his Congressional district. A few months later, Hastert sold land he had purchased in 2002 and 2004 — located just three miles away from the future parkway — earning a profit of about $2 million. (Check out a graphic timeline of the transaction.)

Hastert and his spokesperson now claim his profits had “nothing to do with the Prarie Parkway” because the land is too far away. Bill Allison of the Sunlight Foundation poses the essential question:

So, if being five miles away (actually three, as the same story later indicates) means a prospective homeowner and commuter will reap no benefit whatsoever from the parkway, why are taxpayers spending $207 million to build it?

Another overlooked aspect of this story: Hastert’s profits are just beginning. He’s only sold about 70 acres of his initial 195 acre purchase.