Paul Ryan Should Stop Pretending to Be Unaware of Details, Give Back $25,000 from “Serial Child Molester” Dennis Hastert

By: Meredith Kelly


It’s been just under a week since former Speaker Dennis Hastert was sentenced to prison for fraud connected to his sexual abuse of multiple underage boys. A federal judge called Hastert a “serial child molester” and Hastert himself confirmed his sexual abuse of multiple students during his time as a teacher.

Is it now finally time for Speaker Paul Ryan to donate the more than $25,000 he’s received from the disgraced ex-Speaker? Or will he continue to make the incredulous claim, as he did in an interview last Tuesday, that he doesn’t “know the details of exactly what happened”?

We are just asking for Paul Ryan to follow his own precedent. In 2006 – less than a month out from a midterm election, Ryan donated money from disgraced congressman Mark Foley to local charities, reasoning that Foley’s actions were “probably” criminal and he “didn’t want to be associated” with 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,” said Meredith Kelly of the DCCC. “Since when do white knights keep campaign donations from a ‘serial child molester’?”



Headline: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Paul Ryan won’t return $25,500 in donations from disgraced ex-House Speaker Dennis Hastert.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11/9/15]

June 2015: Ryan Campaign Manager Dismissed Calls To Return Hastert’s Money. “A Ryan spokeswoman said he would be holding onto the Hastert money. “The donations were made and reported in compliance with the FEC rules, and there are no plans to return the legal contributions,” said Susan Jacobson, campaign manager and finance director for Ryan’s campaign.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6/7/15]

November 2015: Ryan Refused To Return More Than $25,000 In Campaign Contributions From Disgraced Ex-Speaker Dennis Hastert. “New House Speaker Paul Ryan was quick to remove the portrait of disgraced lawmaker Dennis Hastert from the speaker’s lobby outside the U.S. House of Representatives floor. But Ryan won’t be unloading nine donations he received from Hastert over the years. From 1998 to 2012, Hastert gave $25,500 to Ryan’s campaign fund through his leadership fund, Keep Our Majority PAC, records show. Hastert, an Illinois Republican, served as House speaker from 1999 to 2007. Susan Jacobson, campaign manager and finance director for Ryan, said last week that the Janesville Republican would not be returning the cash. ‘Those contributions both came in and were spent many years ago,’ Jacobson said.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11/9/15]

FLASHBACK: Ryan Donated $3,000 Contribution From Mark Foley To Local Charities, Said What Foley Did Was “Probably Criminal” And He “Didn’t Want To Be Associated” With Foley. “U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday he had donated $3,000 to local charities to purge his campaign account of money that he received from Florida Rep. Mark Foley about eight years ago. Foley resigned from Congress last week after the disclosure that he had sent sexually explicit instant messages to teenage boys working as Capitol pages. Ryan said he gave away the money because “I didn’t want to be associated” with Foley. “What Mark Foley did was vile, disgusting, immoral and probably criminal, and the FBI needs to throw the book at him,” Ryan said in an interview. Ryan gave the money to the Boys & Girls Clubs in Janesville and Kenosha, he said.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10/6/06]

Ryan Declined To Criticize Then-Speaker Hastert For Response To Foley – Said He Was “An Ethical And Honorable Man.” “Meanwhile, Ryan said he was not criticizing House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), who has come under fire for failing to take quicker action on reports of Foley’s conduct. Foley’s former chief of staff has said he told Hastert’s assistant about three years ago of unwanted overtures Foley had made to pages. Hastert said he’d never heard that. Ryan said he won’t prejudge Hastert and praised him as ‘an ethical and honorable man.’” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10/6/06]