- Disgraced ex-House speaker's painting pulled in recent days
- Republican pleaded guilty to evading bank reporting laws
A portrait of disgraced former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert has been removed from its perch among paintings of former speakers on a wall outside of the House chamber in the U.S. Capitol.
The newly elected House speaker, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, ordered the portrait to be taken down, said AshLee Strong, his spokeswoman.
"The speaker believed it was appropriate to rotate in a different portrait," she said.
The removal of the painting, which shows the Illinois Republican holding a gavel, occurred over the weekend. It had been located in the House speaker’s lobby since 2009.
Hastert, who was second in line to succeed the president while serving as House speaker, pleaded guilty on Oct. 28 to evading bank reporting laws in a scheme to hide payoffs meant to keep secret decades-old sexual misconduct.
The Republican from Plano, Illinois, had served in the House from 1987 to 2007 -- the last eight years as speaker. He was the longest-serving Republican speaker in history.
Prosecutors recommended that Hastert serve between zero and six months in jail after his guilty plea, which carries a maximum five-year term.
The 73-year-old admitted he withdrew almost $1 million from bank accounts in increments below a $10,000 reporting trigger to pay an unidentified individual.
There was no immediate comment from the historian of the House as to whether this was the first such portrait removal, or where the painting was taken. The portrait was replaced by one of Frederick H. Gillett of Massachusetts, speaker from 1919 to 1925.