Whenever I hear of someone being charged with lying to FBI agents, Scooter Libby springs to mind. He was the eventual target of the very thorough investigation of who leaked Valarie Plame's name to the press. Libby didn't do it, but apparently he said something that was untrue during the questioning, and the feds proved he was lying. That was his crime. That's a bad law, and it should be a two way street. If it's legal for law enforcement to lie then it should be legal for citizens, too. The badge shouldn't carry with it the license to mislead.
Then there's another bad law, the anti-structuring statute. Bank transactions involving $10,000 or more must be reported to the feds. However, smaller transactions subject a person to charges of "structuring" and confiscation of the money. (Eric Holder announced a few months ago that the DOJ was going to stop grabbing the money in those situations, although the law is still on the books, so the new Atty Gen could revoke that.)
There's a very interesting interview available at c-span.org with David B. Smith, former Deputy Chief, Asset Forfeiture Office, Department of Justice. Watch it here. Go to the 13 minute mark to hear this part:
Most people don't know what structuring is. It is a crime, federal crime. What it means is breaking down currency amounts of more than $10,000 into smaller deposits or withdrawals from a bank. Let's say a small businessman has $15,000 of cash receipts. He is running a cash intensive business. Instead of ringing the $15,000 to the bank for deposit, he decides he will only deposit $5,000 at a time. For a variety of reasons, perhaps he is afraid to take that much money to the bank, or perhaps he doesn't want the bank to have to go through the trouble of filling out a report that the bank is required to file if more than $10,000 is deposited. It flows down the line at the bank and frequently the teller tells the customer, please keep it under $10,000 because we are busy and we don't want have to take time to fill out this form. That is structuring. That is a federal felony. Most people don't know that is a crime.
On occasion the feds give the money back -- that occasion being a lot of public pressure.
Back to Hastert. If he paid someone to keep quite, why weren't there any blackmailing charges made against the recipient of the money? We don't know. But we do know that a Democratic administration is charging a Republican with crime Bill Clinton could have gotten away with.
For more on this see The 4 Worst Things About Dennis Hastert’s Indictment.