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Friday, March 1, 2024

Dennis Hastert’s friend, roommate & fixer: Scott Palmer

George Bush has Karl Rove, Bill Clinton had James Carville and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has Scott Palmer. Call them powers behind the throne, the political gurus who guide their bosses' careers and, if they're good, keep them out of trouble. Palmer, Hastert's chief of staff, is more than an employee. He's Hastert's friend and his roommate in Washington, a living arrangement the Speaker may find difficult to explain in the wake of the Mark Foley Congressional page scandal. But while some on Capitol Hill see Hastert as a likable, affable buffoon, they see Palmer as a ruthless, arrogant SOB who rides roughshod over anyone who gets in his, Hastert's or the GOP's way. The good-cop, bad-cop relationship is found often in political operations and it lets Palmer take the heat while concealing the fact that Hastert can be just as arrogant and ruthless as his top aide. In fact, both believe a scorched-earth policy is the only answer to running the House of Representatives.

George Bush has Karl Rove, Bill Clinton had James Carville and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has Scott Palmer. Call them powers behind the throne, the political gurus who guide their bosses’ careers and, if they’re good, keep them out of trouble.

Palmer, Hastert’s chief of staff, is more than an employee. He’s Hastert’s friend and his roommate in Washington, a living arrangement the Speaker may find difficult to explain in the wake of the Mark Foley Congressional page scandal.

But while some on Capitol Hill see Hastert as a likable, affable buffoon, they see Palmer as a ruthless, arrogant SOB who rides roughshod over anyone who gets in his, Hastert’s or the GOP’s way.

The good-cop, bad-cop relationship is found often in political operations and it lets Palmer take the heat while concealing the fact that Hastert can be just as arrogant and ruthless as his top aide. In fact, both believe a scorched-earth policy is the only answer to running the House of Representatives.

Hastert, however, likes to stay in the background and let others take the heat. He handpicked Tom DeLay to serve as GOP whip and then let DeLay run amuck. When DeLay’s corruption finally caught up with him, Hastert turned to John Boehner, another arrogant, bribe-taking, votes-for-sale Republican to replace him.

101006puppetmaster.jpgBut Hastert has never been as clean as his carefully-manufactured image suggests. Whispers about his private life go all the way back to Aurora, Illinois, Hastert’s birthplace, and echo through the statehouse in Springfield. But whenever troubled threatened, Palmer was there to step in and fix the situation.

“Denny has a lot of skeletons in his closet,” says an Illinois GOP strategist. “But Scott has the key to the closet and he keeps it locked. The problem is that there is another closet with Scott’s name on it.”

Palmer, who likes to say he was schooled on politics, received a honorary degree from Aurora University in 2002 and told the graduating class that year to “give back to our university, to our community, and to our country.”

And Hastert has given back to Aurora. Not personally but with taxpayer dollars. Records show the Speaker has “earmarked” some $24 million in pork for the Illinois city. Right after Aurora University granted Palmer an honorary degree, the school got a fat $9.8 million federal grant, engineered by Hastert, for a “teacher training institute.”

Another $5.5 million went to Aurora’s Rush-Copley Medical Center, where one of the trustees is one Scott B. Palmer. Still another $3.4 million went to another Aurora hospital that once employed a member of Hastert’s staff.

All this from a self-declared conservative Republican who campaigned on smaller governments, reduced spending and elimination of pork.

“Denny always talked out of both sides of his mouth,” says Elaine Richland, a former Aurora resident who grew up with Hastert. “He comes across as this good old boy but he’s as dangerous as a snake.”

And about as ethical. In 1992, dozens of members of Congress were caught writing bad checks that the House Bank covered without penalty. Many routinely overdrew their accounts, knowing that the Bank, controlled by the very members who abused it, would not bounce the bad paper. Among those who made widespread use of the practice was J. Dennis Hastert – in his first year in office.

Hastert blamed his problems on then Washington-based chief of staff Peter Vroom and fired him. Palmer, who really ran the office from the district, moved to Washington and took over but insiders in Hastert’s office said Vroom had nothing to do with the checks and the illegal activity was all Hastert with Palmer’s knowledge.

Now Hastert is in the middle of another scandal, the Mark Foley Congressional page debacle, and Capitol Hill watchers wonder if Palmer could become the latest fall guy. Kirk Fordham, Foley’s former chief of staff, says he told Palmer about the Florida congressman’s inappropriate behavior but that neither he, nor anyone else in the speaker’s office, did anything about it.

Palmer says Fordham is lying and Hastert sticks to his claim that he knew nothing about Foley’s behavior even with other witnesses coming forward to collaborate Fordham’s story and new information that shows Republicans knew as far back as 2000.

A common question in political scandals is: “What did you know and when did you know it?”

When it comes to Hastert and his puppet master, Scott Palmer, the more appropriate question is: “What did you know and when did you start trying to cover it up?”

38 thoughts on “Dennis Hastert’s friend, roommate & fixer: Scott Palmer”

  1. Interesting. It all leaves me speechless to some degree. Its all so seemingly hopeless to even fix the problem now. Yet I think thats the problem. BY feeling hopeless you stop acting as yourself and live in fear.

    I think the only solution is to turn off the news, turn off the jokers running the show, by not voting for them, not playing by their rules. And simply living life as you wish to live,

    They cannot remove our freedom. Unless we stop acting free.

    Freedom by Peace of Action.

  2. Welcome to the New American Century!

    Yes, the NeoCons have done a fine job of pretending to be Republicans. Go to the page called Statement of Principles on their website and you will see the mission and purpose of this White House administration in its drive to rule the world. And look who signed their names to it.

    The BBC documentary, “The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear”, has received England’s highest awards for television journalism though sadly it has yet to be seen on our own PBS. I mention this compelling documentary for its innovative and comprehensive presentation revealing the foundations for the actions of our present White House leaders. Likewise it also reveals the underpinnings for the motives of the Islamic fundamentalists.

    Yes, in many ways we are in the midst of a living nightmare with all the trappings of popular culture and instant gratification to keep most of us from doing much about it.

    Maybe by this next election we’ll awaken and begin to show the world what democracy can be.

    Given recent developments there’s reason for hope.

  3. yes, I am starting to wonder…given the hastert revelations…the lesbianism of cheney’s daughter who now holds a high state department position…and the rumors about president bush himself…whether what we are actually being plunged into is a gay police state.

    Is the whole fascist agenda a ploy designed to allow leading republicans to stay safely in the closet enabling them to engage in a series of extramarital homosexual affairs?

    perhaps pink tu-tus as uniforms for the marine band are just around the corner?

  4. Sing away Cassandra! I hear you! I don’t care where or with whom anyone sleeps but I would rather they didn’t pontificate about their moral superiority while they are doing it. We must find a Congress and President who will put the Patriot where it belongs! Here, somebody lean over please!

    We must return the freedoms to the people and stop the police state that has been growing since the day Bush took office.

    We can and must do better starting next month! Everyone of us should be talking to our candidates about these issues. I know exactly how Republican Kyl will always vote for a police state. So, I’m promoting his opposition, Pederson! It’s very easy!

  5. OK Doug, all of us say we’re tired of these corrupt,lying sleezbags running our Government. So with all of your vast connections when are you going to put something together and get us to the streets? Until our forum is visable it’s just a bunch of yada yada, and were no better than them. So how about some venue to walk the walk?

  6. To answer Cassandra..I am one who cares! I care that the highest office in the land was bought and paid for..I care that they managed it by using those with money & position along with a bunch of trumped phoney religious mumbo jumbo (I am Christian) and good old fashions lies. Well America, we got what we allowed to be paid for. They put up the money..the “seed money” to get this bunch of crooks and liars..and “our” taxpaying dollars have been footing the never ending bills since then. Now, the a sex scandle..I don’t normaly give a damned what our leaders do with their sex lives, as long as they are not breaking laws or screwing me the taxpayer. But this time, they have uncovered a sexual liaison with an underage page..and trust me, this intollerable, and just the beginning. Being gay has nothing what-so-ever to do with this sexual activity or any other. Having to hide in the closet is not what any of us should want, because that is just food for frenzy in politics..that anyone is gay is no excuse for the crap these jerks have pulled off. I don’t want to hear about gays..I want the rotten crooks removed from office for what they’ve done to my nation..Yes we should be out in the streets demanding what we have a right for and we should have been there for 6 years instead of just watching and allowing the lawless greedy leaders swallow not only money but lives. (war,spending,lies, cover-ups etc) We should demand an honest ungreedy nation of leaders and not care what their sexual orientation, religion, or political party is.

  7. Between consenting adults, I don’t really care (and REALLY don’t want the mental images… yeesh) of who is boffing who. It’s none of my business.

    What annoys me is that these absolute bastards have been very deliberately and very intentionally taking steps to literally brand us (with RFID tags) and enslave us into a fascist dictatorship and ready to ship us to concentration/extermination camps if we get antsy about all of this. This is literally what the GOPs have been doing. They have been setting up a fascist slave society where none of our lives have any real value or worthy of respect and dignity.

    If it takes sex scandals to get the process going to expose all that’s been going on, then I say bring on the sex scandals.

  8. Cassandra –
    You are not alone in the wilderness. Look what I found elsewhere…

    The US is now set up for a total police state, and the only thing lacking is the Bush-office order to make it happen.

    Read and weep. We have:
    1) the Patriot Act, of which Section 106 gives the president the ability to identify any citizen as a suspect without providing any evidence whatsoever, to have that person detained in SECRET detention, with no access to legal representation or family, to confiscate any and all of that person’s property, and to dispose of that property in any way and to whomever the president designates. In other words, he can have you disappear for opposing his policies (no evidence, remember) and sell everything you own out from under your family, and give the money to Jenna and Barbara – or to bin Laden if he so chooses.

    2) The new ‘Torture Act’ passing Congress now that says that once you’re detained you may be tortured, and then tried for crimes you weren’t charged with when you were detained based on whatever you or anyone else in that prison say under torture. the only things they exempted are those that would leave evidence on your body that would show up in a photo. We already have the secret prisons and secret renditions too, to get our dirty work done outside the boundaries in order to protect the administration.

    3) We have the Pentagon watching every dime you spend that isn’t cash – a program called DARPA – that will tell them in minutes where you used your credit card, and what you bought. Store number, date / time and SKU will give that all away. Pay by check? Takes until the check clears to tie you to the sale, but they already know what you bought. It’s an enforcement tool as well as a spying tool.

    4) General Hayden has the NSA recording your phone calls (which several software tools can transcribe from voice to text for scanning, and which do context scanning) and reading your e-mails, and maybe even reading snail mail too for all we know. Another spying and enforcement tool.

    5) We have most of the Republican controlled elections boards across the country using Diebold voting machines, produced by a guy who promised to put Bush in the White House, and with software that cannot be audited. So our elections are still free, but the results are now capable of being pre-determined by the ruling party – with no ability to audit them.

    6) We have a courts and justice system packed with gang appointees who support not only the torture, and the protection of the voting software (Intellectual property protection), but also the wholesale disregard of current law and the bogus interpretations of most standing law in a fashion which supports the Police State Agenda.

    7) Last, we have the law Congress enacted last year that gives the president the power to declare Martial Law (ostensibly in the event of the Bird Flu non-event) to control the public in the event of panic or protests or riots.

    Got it? It’s a police state pure and simple. Just like Stalinist Russia,

  9. Who cares!! For six years we’ve been hearing about the lies and coruption of this Administration and it’s Republican Congress, yet nobody does anything but talk! So you act really BRAVE on the net, big deal. Until people get off there asses and get out and work to take back our Government your no better than those running it!!!

  10. I wish we could emulate the Quakers who do not believe in joining secret or subversive organizations. Such organizations tend to become criminal and they feel entitled to prey upon and manipulate others. Look at the Catholics, Mormons, Some Gays, Republicans and Moonies. And don’t forget the professional and country club types of organizations. We are awash in crooks who only seek advantage.

  11. Cassandra:

    You are certainly not alone in your despair what can only be described as Congressional acquiescence to the Bush administration’s grab for fascist power. (If you’re talking about the detention/torture bill, the vote was NOT 100 to 1, but it was bad enough.). My advice to you is to vote Democratic in the coming election, at least when it comes to Senate and House races. I’m a registered Green myself, but I recognize that the only way to be assure that the current gang of fascist thieves is thrown out—and the Bushies weakened—during their final two years in power—is to mount a solid Democratic Party challenge.

  12. I find it incredible that we are so obsessed with sex scandels that we fail to see the ultimate devastation of us all.

    I struggle to conceive the fact that so many of the American electorate are not aware of the dire consequences of the recent Senate vote – 100 to 1 – granting G.W. Bush what can only be described as absolute dictatorial power over the lives of every citizen of the United States – and if it is to be believed – suffer imprisonment, live or die if we do not give absolute, unquestioning loyalty to this man no matter what he does.

    What the hell is wrong with a people who cringe in fear and do nothing when the Constitution of the United States has been completely gutted by the very elected officials who are sworn to uphold and protect it?

    What is wrong with a people who sit by wringing their hands when the highest office in the land is very nearly auctioned off to the highest bidder?

    For to long now we have had to choose between the bad and the worse, those selections chosen for us by the privileged few, with only an occasional leader who does not plan to and try to do harm to the American people.

    We have not demanded accountability from our chief executive or those elected to do just that.

    Why did we not march in the streets by the hundreds of thousands when the 2000 election debacle occurred?

    Why did not the Congress rise up in all its might and majesty and demand that the Supreme Court defer to the Constitutional Congressional authority to resolve such disputes?

    Why are we not in the streets now demanding that the Congress take back the wholesale sacking of the Constitution by which it so recently crowned the brow of a man who can only be called “Emperor of the World?

    Are we good only to sit at keyboards and write missives such as this?

    I don’t know what to do in the upcoming November elections – a vote for the very same people who allowed this absolute plunder of the Constitution is not the answer. Maybe I will just vote for anyone else, Green Party, Libertarian Party, Up Party, Down Party – whatever Party in an attempt to break up this scratch my back and I’ll reciprocate by pressing the flesh cabal in Foggy Bottom.

    Am I Cassandra wailing from the doomed walls of Troy, is there anybody out there, does anybody care?


  13. Maybe there really is a Gay Mafia…and here everybody thaught that it was in Hollywood, hmmm….
    If it turns out that these jackasses really are gay, then there’s going to be a firestorm unlike anything seen before and maybe not from the conservative right but form those of us that are gay! You have no idea how friggin’ angry I am right now. And why in the hell didn’t somebody (HRC) maybe do freudian “out” somewhere along the line?! As if we didn’t have enough bad press before now we’ve got this. Great!
    Never really could understand the concept of a Gay Republican.. now it’s all starting to make sense.
    Friggin’ closets and skeletons and ghouls hmm how timely.

  14. Doug, what is going on with Media Fast Clik? This window pops up every time I access your site? This is an empty window that is easily removed, but I still wonder why is is associated with your site.

  15. “There is also much focus on the relationship between House Speaker Dennis Hastert and his chief of staff, 56-year old Scott Palmer. Hastert and Palmer, Hastert’s longtime unmarried adviser, live together in a DC townhouse along with Hastert’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Mike Stokke, while Hastert’s wife Jean lives in Yorkville, Illinois and stays at a hotel when she visits Washington.” [Source:

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