Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) said Friday that he never heard any rumors about embattled former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) while he was in Congress and did not suspect Hastert may have been gay.
A woman came forward to ABC News in a report that aired on Friday to allege Hastert sexually abused her late brother. Her brother was the student manager of the high school wrestling team that Hastert coached before being elected to Congress. Frank was asked on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” whether he’d ever heard any rumors about Hastert during his time in Congress.
“No, I did not,” Frank responded.
The former congressman explained that having come out as gay in 1987, people would go to him if they heard rumors about another member of Congress’s sexuality. He said that while it’s clear now that Hastert is “at least to some extent bisexual,” Frank never would have suspected around the time of Hastert’s speakership that he’d had sex with other men.
“If you’d asked me in 2000 or whatever to draw up a list of the 10 people least likely to be engaging in sex with other men, Dennis would’ve been on that list,” Frank said. “No, I never heard any rumor. If there had been rumors around, I think I heard most of them.”
Hastert was indicted last month on bank-related charges stemming from his alleged agreement to pay $3.5 million in hush money to an unidentified individual. The sum was intended to conceal and compensate for “prior misconduct” against the person that had occurred years earlier, prosecutors alleged. Hastert is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday in U.S. district court in Chicago.