John Laesch spoke today in front of Denny Hastert's office in Batavia, Illinois. Several news representatives where present including local affiliates of ABC, NBC, CBS and WGN.
He is to speak shortly at the DeKalb County Courthouse which I am going to run off to. I will post a transcription of what John said and more photos asap.
More below the fold:
This afternoon, on only a 24 hour notice John Laesch spoke to his supporters and responded to the ABC report of the FBI investigating Hastert- Abramoff ties.
Well, good afternoon! Thanks everybody for coming! I know you had less than 24 hours to get the wordand get out here and it's Friday afternoon so everybody wants to go about and get going with their weekend. So we are going to be very brief. My name is John Laesch and I am running for U.S. Congress as the Democrat who will defeat Dennis Hastert in November of 2006 (applause). Now, we are here today to hi-lite some of the clear and distinct differences between myself and my opponent Dennis Hastert.
Now we all know that Tom Delay and Dennis Hastert have been the ringleaders of the culture of corruption in our Congress. The People’s house is for sale and Dennis Hastert and Tom Delay have been the auctioneer’s. Now the recent story by ABC news reporting is what has brought us here. Now just for a quick update, if you haven’t had the time to tune into your televisions, the Dept. Of Justice is saying that there is no investigation of Dennis Hastert. They have said it twice now.
And yet, ABC is standing by their story saying they have an inside source, from the FBI, who says Dennis Hastert is ‘in the mix’ in the ongoing investigation of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Now, you know whether there is an investigation or not an investigation, is not the question. There should be an investigation and I am going to tell you why. Here we have an example, (holds up prop check) this is a check in the amount of $21,000 made out to Dennis Hastert by Jack Abramoff, his lobbyists and some of the people who represent the casino industry.
Now on June 3, 2003 Jack Abramoff and 20-30 lobbyists and clients of the casino and gaming industry held a fundraiser for Dennis Hastert at Jack Abramoff’s restaurant in Washington called Signatures. In addition to accepting the $21,500 from the casino industry, Mr. Hastert failed to pay his check. This in itself is a violation of FEC rules – the Federal Election Commission monitors how I raise money and I report it. And it monitors how Dennis Hastert raises his money and what he reports and does not report.
Now seven days after the fundraising event, Dennis Hastert, Tom Delay, Roy Blunt and some of the others sent this letter (holds up letter) to the Sec. of the Interior, Gail Norton. And basically the letter urges Gail Norton to reject the Jenna Tribe of Choctaw Indians request for a new casino. Now the Jenna tribe is trying to build a casino that would compete with Jack Abramoff’s clients in the casino business. Now I say is the FBI investigating? Or the DOJ investigating? Is the story from ABC accurate or not?
The facts are very simple. Dennis Hastert picked up a check from the casino business. Seven days later he wrote a letter on behalf of the casino business. Now Dennis Hastert is calling this a coincidence. And I think the American People are smart enough to call this corruption (applause). It is very unfortunate; I think it is very unfortunate that our Congress is even discussing this. This is not the business of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Back in 2003 there were still 44 million people who go everyday without health insurance. There was an ongoing war in Iraq that is still going on today because our House has failed to step up and lead. And all of this is happening because your current representative Dennis Hastert is wrapped up in the culture of corruption with casino businesses, with the Big Oil and Gas industry, with the pharmaceutical industry passing legislation on their behalf instead of handling the issues that are important to Illinois 14th district (applause).
Now, I want to let you know the day that Jack Abramoff was convicted Dennis Hastert gave the money back. Just a little bit too late. And now that Hastert’s under investigation by the FBI he is doing the same thing that Tom Delay did. He is denying it. Not only that he is threatening to sue ABC news. He wants to silence the media! This is our First Amendment right! And that is how these people operate. It is not a government by the People and for the People. It’s a government by casinos for casinos.
Now the only good news that I have for the American People is that they have the power. Our forefathers gave us the power to change the members of Congress to better represent them. And that this November the people of the Illinois’ 14th district have the opportunity to change the direction of our Country and to elect a new representative. My name is John Laesch, I am asking for your vote on November 7th. Because we -- Our country desperately needs to go in a new direction.
I just want to point out one other little difference between myself and Mr. Hastert. It’s how we raise money and who we raise money from. I did a tally last night getting ready for this press conference and I found out that we have from across this country, 35 states, people from 35 states, a total of 450 people, have made small $25, $50, $100 contributions to the Friends of John Laesch Campaign. We raised a total of $65,000 from People. From Citizens. The People I will represent in Washington, DC.
Now contrast this to Mr. Hastert. That fundraiser at Jack Abramoff’s restaurant on 3 June 2003 was $1500 a plate. The only people in attendance were lobbyists and people from the gaming industry. As your next Representative, I am telling you right now, I will not take money from the casino industry. I will not take money from Big Oil and Gas. I will not take money from the pharmaceutical industry. I am only going to take and accept contributions from citizens of this great Nation because that’s who deserves to be represented in Washington. Thank you so much.
John Laesch holding up a check for $21,500 paid to Mr. Hastert after a fundraiser held by Mr. Abramoff at his Signatures restaurant - Mr. Haster did not pay his tab
The speech was followed by applause and a very short question and answer session.
Mr. Laesch carried himself strongly, was well enunciated and projected a character of honesty and good faith. I look forward to his election to the House, to America's Middle Class finally having someone in Congress who represents them. Good Luck John, we are behind you 100% here in the 14th.