Florida Legislature

Anticipatory bribery

Anticipatory bribery

Washington has been rocked by the scandal involving J. Dennis Hastert, the longest-serving Republican speaker in the history of the U.S. House, indicted on charges of violating banking laws by paying $1.7 million (as part of a $3.5 million agreement) to conceal prior misconduct, which was allegedly child molestation.

The scandal contains another one that has received less attention: the fact that Mr. Hastert, who never made much money as a teacher or a congressman, could manage such payments because after retiring from Congress he became a high-paid lobbyist.

This second scandal is perfectly legal, but it's a growing menace.

In the 1970s, only 3 percent of retiring...