Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander has placed his chief of staff on unpaid administrative leave after learning that the aide is under investigation for child pornography.
“I was just informed by the United States Senate legal counsel’s office that law enforcement agents are conducting a search of the personal residence of Ryan Loskarn, the chief of staff of my Washington, D.C. office, regarding allegations involving child pornography,” Alexander said in a statement.
“I am stunned, surprised and disappointed by what I have learned,” Alexander said. “Based on this information, I immediately placed Mr. Loskarn on administrative leave without pay. The office is fully cooperating with the investigation.”
UPDATE: U.S. Postal Inspection Police led Loskarn removed Loskarn from his home. Footage from NBCWashington showed three agents leading a man identified as Loskarn from his home into the back of a black SUV.
UPDATE: Alexander has fired Loskarn and appointed longtime aide David Cleary to be his new chief of staff, according to a statement from Alexander emailed out just before 5 p.m. Wednesday.
“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. Therefore, as of today, I have removed him from the payroll,” Alexander said in a statement.
Cleary has worked for Alexander for eight years, serving as his legislative director since 2011.
UPDATE: Loskarn was arrested Wednesday afternoon and is in custody “based on probable cause for possession and distribution of child pornography charges,” according to a statement from a Justice Department spokesman.
A court hearing is expected to be held on Thursday morning in D.C. federal court.