Skip to content

Heard on the Hill: Saga of a Congressional Desk

As any youngest child knows, hand-me-downs aren’t exactly desirable.

But don’t tell that to Chief Deputy Majority Whip Peter Roskam, who just received the old desk of a fellow Illinois Republican, former Speaker Dennis Hastert.

“He’s really excited to carry on the Illinois heritage,” a spokesman for Roskam tells HOH.

“It’s a great recognition of the heritage that Illinois has here in Congress,” Roskam said in a video release. “It’s a tremendous honor to serve in the footsteps of really great people that had a huge impact on our public life.”

Three signatures, some in pen, others etched into the top left-hand drawer of the desk, tell the story of its long Congressional history. It was first used by Majority Whip Leslie Arends (R-Ill.) in the 1940s and was then passed down to Minority Leader Robert Michel (R-Ill.) in the 1980s.

Hastert, who also served as Chief Deputy Whip before becoming Speaker, left a letter for the Congressman in the top desk drawer. HOH hears he plans to frame the letter and keep it on the desk.

“Speaker Hastert, it was a tremendous gesture, and I’m really, deeply appreciative,” Roskam said.

No word yet on whether Hastert also left a few pieces of chewed gum stuck underneath.