Sen. Lamar Alexander’s Chief of Staff Put on Leave Following Child Pornography Allegations

The Tennessee Republican is “stunned” about his staffer, Ryan Loskarn.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) speaks to members of the media at the Capitol October 11, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
National Journal
Elahe Izadi, Brian Resnick and Matt Berman
Dec. 11, 2013, 6:57 a.m.

Sen. Lamar Al­ex­an­der, R-Tenn., sent out a re­lease Wed­nes­day morn­ing an­noun­cing that his chief of staff, Ry­an Los­karn, is be­ing put on leave over al­leg­a­tions in­volving child por­no­graphy. “I am stunned, sur­prised and dis­ap­poin­ted by what I have learned,” the sen­at­or said in a state­ment.

Los­karn, 35, was ar­res­ted in the af­ter­noon by the Postal In­spec­tion Ser­vice “based on prob­able cause for pos­ses­sion and dis­tri­bu­tion of child por­no­graphy charges,” said Justice De­part­ment spokes­man Peter Carr.

Los­karn is in cus­tody pending a court hear­ing, ex­pec­ted Thursday at a fed­er­al court­house in D.C.

Al­ex­an­der’s of­fice an­nounced Wed­nes­day morn­ing that Los­karn is on leave without pay, and the sen­at­or’s of­fice is fully co­oper­at­ing with the in­vest­ig­a­tion. Law en­force­ment agents are search­ing Los­karn’s home Wed­nes­day, ac­cord­ing to Al­ex­an­der’s state­ment.

By Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, Al­ex­an­der had re­placed Los­karn with Dav­id Cleary as his chief of staff. Cleary is the Re­pub­lic­an staff dir­ect­or for the Sen­ate Health, Edu­ca­tion, Labor and Pen­sions Com­mit­tee, which Al­ex­an­der serves on as rank­ing mem­ber.

“The courts will judge Mr. Los­karn’s guilt or in­no­cence, but un­der these cir­cum­stances, he can­not con­tin­ue to ful­fill his du­ties as chief of staff of this of­fice,” Al­ex­an­der said in a state­ment. There­fore, as of today, I have re­moved him from the payroll.”

The in­vest­ig­a­tion is be­ing led the the the Postal In­spec­tion Ser­vice. Spokes­wo­man Lori Mc­Cal­lister tells Na­tion­al Journ­al that her agency con­duc­ted a “law en­force­ment” ac­tion in South­east D.C. Wed­nes­day morn­ing. “All doc­u­ments re­lated to the law en­force­ment ac­tion are un­der seal,” she said.

On Thursday, Wash­ing­ton City Pa­per re­por­ted that po­lice had searched his home Wed­nes­day and found “hun­dreds of videos of un­der­age boys en­gaged in sexu­ally ex­pli­cirt con­duct and some videos with young girls on the hard drive.” When they ar­rived, re­portedly, Los­karn was “lean­ing out­side the middle second win­dow,” at­tempt­ing to get the port­able hard drive out­side of his home.

It wasn’t long ago that things were look­ing rather good for Los­karn. A former staff dir­ect­or of the Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­an Con­fer­ence, he was on Roll Call‘s 2009 “Fab­ulous 50 Movers and Shakers” on Cap­it­ol Hill list. He be­came Al­ex­an­der’s chief of staff at the end of 2011. Be­fore then, he was the staff dir­ect­or of the Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­an Con­fer­ence for more than two years and worked in the House as an aide for sev­en years for vari­ous Re­pub­lic­an law­makers.

Contributions by Sarah Mimms