House Speaker Paul D. Ryan is the latest target of a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee attack aimed at Republicans who have received money from disgraced former Speaker Dennis Hastert.
The DCCC is calling on Ryan to donate to charity the roughly $25,000 in campaign contributions he’s received over the years from Hastert, who was sentenced last week to 15 months in federal prison for a hush money scheme he used to cover up years of child molestation.
A Ryan spokesman said the Wisconsin Republican has no current plans to release the money donated to his campaign. “Those contributions came in and were spent many years ago,” the spokesman said.
A few GOP lawmakers have decided to donate money to charity to match the amount of contributions they have received from Hastert in an effort to distance themselves from the former speaker.
Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, a member of the Republican leadership, donated $11,000 , the amount his campaign received from Hastert, to an organization in his state dedicated to combating child abuse.
Rep. Eric Paulsen of Minnesota, an early target of the DCCC attack, is giving $1,000 to a nonprofit that provides services to domestic violence victims.
The DCCC is criticizing Ryan for not following suit, especially since in 2006 he donated $3,000 to local charities to offset the amount of contributions he had received from Florida Republican Mark Foley. Ryan’s donation came after Foley resigned from Congress amid revelations that he sent sexual messages to teenage boys who were working as Capitol Hill pages.
The allegations of sexual abuse against Hastert, which he admitted to in court last week, are far worse than those against Foley.
“It’s shameful that a full year’s worth of allegations, plea deals, court hearings, and a prison sentence still won’t shake this money loose from Paul Ryan’s campaign coffers,” DCCC spokeswoman Meredith Kelly said. “Since when do white knights keep campaign donations from a ‘serial child molester’?”
Ryan has expressed his disapproval of Hastert with his decision in November to remove the former speaker’s portrait from the Speaker’s Lobby.