Hastert and FIFA cases prove the oldest rule in the book: Follow the money!

What does Dennis Hastert’s indictment on apparently Very Very Bad Horrible Terrible Behavior (kudos to Kaili Joy Gray of Wonkette) and the FIFA bribery and kickback scandal (New York Times version here) have in common? They both in part involve people charged with trying to hide or disguise transfers of money—something that is of tremendous interest these days to both the FBI and the IRS.

In Hastert’s case, you have to wonder how he could have thought that making regular cash withdrawals of less than $10,000 would keep him from attracting the attention of regulators (had he never heard of Eliot Spitzer?) One thread of the FIFA investigation (NYT’s take here) involved a soccer official who had stopped filing personal income tax returns and later cooperated with investigators, as The Daily News first reported.

People! Simple Rule #1: If you look like you’re trying to hide something financial, you’re probably trying to hide something financial. And it’s darned hard to get away with in this age of heightened bank reporting.