Ryan says his letters in support of stimulus 'should have been handled differently'
August 16th, 2012
06:39 PM ET
8 years ago

Ryan says his letters in support of stimulus 'should have been handled differently'

(CNN) - Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan responded Thursday to his previous statements that he had not requested stimulus funding after reports emerged that he had sent letters to federal agencies in support of stimulus grant requests made by a Wisconsin non-profit.

Ryan, who represents Wisconsin in Congress, denied that he had requested stimulus monies in an interview this week with an Ohio television station as well as in a 2010 radio interview, statements which were contradictory to the letters he wrote as well as his opposition to the stimulus program.

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In a paper statement on Thursday, Ryan said, "After having these letters called to my attention I checked into them, and they were treated as constituent service requests in the same way matters involving Social Security or Veterans Affairs are handled.

"This is why I didn't recall the letters earlier, he continued. "But they should have been handled differently, and I take responsibility for that. Regardless, it's clear that the Obama stimulus did nothing to stimulate the economy, and now the President is asking to do it all over again."

In an interview with CNN affiliate WCPO on Thursday, Ryan said, "I never asked for stimulus," but declined to comment on reports that he did, saying he had not read one such report raised by the interviewer.

He said on a Boston-area radio station in October 2010 that he is "not one of the people who votes for something then writes to the government to ask them to send us money."

"I did not request any stimulus money," he said. The station, WBZ, posted audio of Ryan's 2010 comments to its website on Thursday.

In several letters obtained by CNN from a Democratic source, Ryan wrote to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis "writing to express my support for" grant applications submitted by organizations including the Energy Center of Wisconsin.

Energy Center communications director Leslie Post told CNN that Ryan wrote letters on behalf of two projects in which the center was involved. The center received a total of $240,000 in grants primarily for a hybrid geothermal heating project. Post said Ryan did not write letters on behalf of a third project in which the center was involved but not the primary grant recipient.

The letters, grants, and radio interview were reported this week by The Boston Globe and The Wall Street Journal.

In the letters, Ryan wrote, "I support the Energy Center of Wisconsin and its partners' grant application for the Recovery Act - Training Program Development for Commercial Building Equipment Technicians Building Operators, and Energy Commissioning Agents/Auditors. I would appreciate it if you and the appropriate DOE would ensure that it is given your prompt and full consideration, consistent with all laws and regulations."

The grant referred to was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 - the stimulus program which Ryan and other Republicans opposed.

Members of Congress regularly serve as advocates for those in their districts, as Ryan's official House website explains: "One of my most important jobs as your Congressman is to assist those I represent by serving as a direct link to the federal government, helping constituents navigate the bureaucratic maze, and cutting through the red tape to obtain answers from federal agencies."

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Paul Ryan
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. CBR

    Mr. Ryan's "letters in support of the stimulus" make it clear that he did act on requests. He cannot now blame his constituents for forcing him to write these letters. Mr Ryan, you did it, admit it, and move on. The more you talk about the matter the deeper you will go.

    August 16, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  2. l3gaci

    Ryan has put his foot and hand in his power 90x toosh.....I smell a BBQ coming on, who want to eat?

    August 16, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  3. Alec

    Do we really have to endure two more months of this garbage?

    August 16, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  4. martin

    Wow, he totally lied. Why not just tell us the truth. Now, he has less credibilty. Why does the Republican Party insist on ruining our chances with these kind of blunders. Get it together. "sigh"

    August 16, 2012 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  5. Tony

    " It should have been handled differently,like in a way that wouldn't have gotten caught. Mitt is teaching me how to correct that!"

    August 16, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  6. Logic N LA

    I guess I live in a different country then Ryan.
    Money is bveing spent far more freely today than in 2008. Business are sitting on more cash than at any time in history. Housing is moving again. New building permits are up. the stock market is up nearly 1000 points in the past 30 days. We have had no new taxes, managed to weather a great reccession and we are moving forward. All this dispite Republicans blocking every jobs bill and any attempt to cancel the Bush era tax cuts to help bring down the deficits.
    I would say Obama and his crew are miracle workers given whoo they had to work with.

    August 16, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  7. MTATL67

    $20 million to ECC to keep jobs is not bad. what's bad is Ryan voted NO than back allied the money – SHADY

    August 16, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  8. RWB1956

    The tea Party

    The Tea Party said I didn't do it! My God, aren't these politicians allowed to stand by their actions anymore?

    August 16, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |

    Ryan embraces the extreme philosophy of Ayn Rand

    Ryan co-sponsored a “personhood” amendment, an extreme anti-abortion measure

    The Bush Tax Cuts (increasing the deficit by $1.7 trillion over the last ten years)

    Medicare Part D (increasing the federal debt by $395 billion between 2004 and 20013)

    The Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (increasing the deficit by $1.47 trillion over the last ten years)

    Increased defense spending and more tax cuts like the capital gains cuts and inheritance tax reduction (Hundreds of billions more in increased defense spending, and tens of billions more in tax cuts)

    TARP (initial cost of $700 billion, but reduced by subsequent payments)

    Ryan had sought stimulus funds for local energy conservation groups from the Department of Energy in late 2009, and a 2010 Wall Street Journal report indicated he sought funds for another local group from the Labor Department.

    Romney was already sinking in the polls. Picking Ryan for VP will put the
    final nail in the coffin.

    August 16, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  10. 1twinsfan

    No wonder Mitt chose him! Ryan's a flip-flopper also.

    August 16, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  11. Jeettu

    It is funny that Ryan was opposed to the stimulus but was in favor of his State agencies and other offices in getting the benefits of such stimulus. This is inconsistent behavior on his part to say the least. If he was opposed to the stimulus, he should have told his constituents that he cannot support their application.

    Further, when asked about it, he first denied having ever asked for any stimulus money. This is typical republican behavior of playing both sides to win the elections. If you believe in something, you should stand for it and act th at way. Ryan supported those applications and wrote letters so that he can get votes to be elected congressman from those places in his district. Had he said no, he might hav created a negative effect there.

    So, as VP, how can we trust him to behave differently? No, we can't and we cannot vote for the Romney/Ryan ticket either in November elections. Vote democratic all November elections.

    August 16, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  12. Ideas, Ideals, not ideologies

    Why does it feel like George Orwell's 1984 everytime I hear politicians talk about their recent record? They want to wish that the past was differentfrom and defend it as such depite the paper trail. Please spare me the "Obama is putting out lies"line. Either Ryan owns up, apologize to the tea party and move on or he's a dishonest person.

    August 16, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  13. R&R(romneyryan)corp

    Once again another republican big spender get's caught

    August 16, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  14. R&R(romneyryan)corp

    R&Rcorporation reverses once again

    August 16, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  15. Kenny K

    Ryan Ryan Ryan! You should stayed in Congress where you have thos rRepub to protect you.

    August 16, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  16. Pete

    So Ryan,look like Romney,politics like Romney ,now lies,flip flops like Romney.Just like many of your sanctumonious republicans who were against the presidents stimulus,but took it anyway and publized it as well,good work boys worming your way out of this one ,idiots!!

    August 16, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  17. NikoEsquire

    Wow! He's been caught in two lies in one day. Looks like he's trying to catch up with Romney. They truly are the perfect match. Both are big lying hypocrites..

    August 16, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  18. namryan

    Ooops... it seems that lying is contagious on the Republican ticket...

    August 16, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  19. Mike

    Oh I see. It's just routine stuff that his office does for his constituents even though it's contrary to his own belief system and voting record. It's just taking money for his district from a funding source that he voted against. So that's not hypocrisy or anything. That's just him being a fiscal conservative. Or maybe, it's him being being a flip-flopper. Now I know why Romney chose him – they're twin brother's of another mother.

    August 16, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  20. beau

    The Ryan choice is EXCELLENT
    Ryan has the courage to challenge Big socialist government programs like Social Security and Medicare.
    Politicians have been deathly afraid to challenge senior citizens on Social Security and Medicare because they are such a powerful voting block
    But Senior Citizens have been feeding at the government trough for too long.
    It's time Seniors learned that nothing is "Free" and that WELFARE FOR THE ELDERLY is no different from welfare for the poor.
    American seniors are just going to have to learn to save their money and rely on themselves in their old age.
    It's time to end the two biggest socialist programs in the federal government....MEDICARE and SOCIAL SECURITY.
    And the Romney/Ryan team is the ones to do it.
    You are going to pay your way now old people, no more free lunch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL

    August 16, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  21. liberal

    Ryan has a lot of explaining to do:

    – He supported EVERY single Bush measure (from wars to TARP to tax-cuts to Medicare Part D / prescription medication program etc.etc.etc.), which created the Bush deficit we inherited.

    – While he is at it, maybe he can explain what Dick Cheney meant when he said:' RONALD REAGAN PROOFED THAT DEFICITS DON'T MATTER.' That was the Republican mantra until January 2009.

    – He needs to explain why he, and many other House Republicans, publicly condemned the stimulus, but privately lined up to GET stimulus money for their districts (arguing it was helping their districts' economy).

    – He needs to explain, why he wants to cut social benefits and student education funding, AFTER HE HIMSELF RECEIVED THIS KIND OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT. I am happy for him and his family that they got help from Uncle Sam after his father died, but to then deny this to other people is a hypocrisy.

    OBAMA 2012 / HILLARY 2016 !

    August 16, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  22. Thomas

    This guy is a walking contradiction , who's unaccountability is only shadowed by his irresponsibility .

    He was in Congress how long ?

    August 16, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  23. fullclarity

    "Regardless, it's clear that the Obama stimulus did nothing to stimulate the economy..." Really, Paul, you of all people know that statement is dishonest and not true. If this is the basis for your candidacy and campaign, you don't have my vote.

    August 16, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  24. AK_steve

    Paul Ryan: "I didn't ask for stimulus money. What you have a document with my signature asking for stimulus money?"

    Ryan then engages his Jedi mind trick on the weak minded – don't tell me the truth, tell me what I want to hear – right wing. And then he repeats, "I didn't ask for stimulus money".

    The weak minded right wing nods in agreement and blames "lame stream media" for trying to smearing their beloved savior.

    August 16, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  25. Bootstomper

    What a hack.

    August 16, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
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