Washington Bureau

12.11.13

Senate Aide In Child Porn Bust

The chief of staff for Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander is under investigation for allegations involving child pornography.

On Wednesday morning, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) announced that he was suspending his chief of staff, Ryan Loskarn, who was being investigated by law enforcement for "allegations involving child pornography." In a release, Alexander, a two-term senator who previously served as the Volunteer State's governor, said "I am stunned, surprised and disappointed." The Tennessee Republican said his office was cooperating fully and that Loskarn would be placed on unpaid adminstrative leave.

Loskarn joined Alexander's office in 2011 after serving as a staff director for the Senate Republican Conference. In an article at the time, Roll Call described him as "one of the Senate GOP’s top strategists and aides." Prior to joining Alexander's office, his influence as a staffer had led him to be named one of Roll Call's "Fabulous 50." Loskarn was prominent enough on the Hill that in 2010, he chronicled celebrations of his 32nd birthday for Politico. Celebrations included "lots of food and ample booze."

The allegations surrounding Loskarn are still unclear but it's possible that the scandal could hurt Alexander's re-election prospects. The Tennessee Republican, who has long been derided as "a RINO" for his comparatively moderate brand of conservatism is facing a Tea Party primary challenge in 2014. Despite Alexander's quick actions suspending Loskarn, this still could provide fodder for negative ads regardless.