By Travis Loller, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander said Wednesday he has placed his chief of staff on unpaid leave after learning the staffer’s home was being searched as part of a child pornography investigation.
In a news release Tuesday, the Tennessee Republican said he had just been informed by the Senate legal counsel’s office that law enforcement agents were conducting a search of Ryan Loskarn’s home. Loskarn is the chief of staff in Alexander’s Washington, D.C., office.
“I am stunned, surprised and disappointed by what I have learned,” Alexander said in the news release.
Phone and email messages left for Loskarn were not immediately returned.
Video taken at the scene by WJLA-TV shows Loskarn being led from his southeast D.C. home by U.S. Postal Inspector police who put him in a black SUV. Loskarn appears to be in handcuffs, although a coat is draped over his arms.
Postal Inspector Jervay Rodgers said she could confirm only that the agency carried out “an enforcement action” in southeast D.C. on Tuesday, but she said all documents related to that action currently are under seal.
Alexander said that he immediately placed Loskarn on administrative leave without pay and that his office is fully cooperating with the investigation.
Alexander is a former Tennessee governor and has also served as the U.S. Secretary of Education. He was first elected to the Senate in 2002.
According to Loskarn’s biography on his LinkedIn account and in previous communications for Alexander’s office, Loskarn graduated from Tulane University in 2000 and went to work for retired Republican U.S. Rep. Wally Herger of California as a legal assistant. He later was the communications director for U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, and eventually became staff director for the Senate Republican Conference.
Loskarn has served as Alexander’s chief of staff for two years.
U.S. Rep. Blackburn released a statement on Tuesday saying, “I am shocked, saddened, and stunned by these allegations.”