Presented With Letters, Ryan Admits Requesting Stimulus Cash
After repeated denials, Paul Ryan has admitted he requested stimulus cash even after sharply criticizing the program.
Ryan had denied doing so as recently as Wednesday, when he spoke to ABC's Cincinnati affiliate, WCPO, in Ohio.
"I never asked for stimulus," Mitt Romney's new running mate said. "I don't recall… so I really can't comment on it. I opposed the stimulus because it doesn't work, it didn't work."
Two years ago, during an interview on WBZ's NewsRadio he was asked by a caller if he "accepted any money" into his district. Ryan said he did not.
"I'm not one [of those] people who votes for something then writes to the government to ask them to send us money. I did not request any stimulus money," the congressman answered.
But as we've now learned, Ryan did write letters. He did request stimulus funds.
"The Olympics may be over but Paul Ryan could have gotten a gold medal in hypocrisy," a senior administration official told ABC's Jake Tapper. "As someone who spends all day every day railing against government spending, but then secretly seeks millions in funds for pet projects, he is as Washington as it gets."
In 2009, Ryan wrote to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis asking for stimulus money to cover costs on two energy conservation projects in his home state of Wisconsin. In the letter, Ryan said the funds would help create jobs and reduce "energy consumption" in the state. At least one of the companies received the requested cash.
The letters were first obtained by The Wall Street Journal through the Freedom of Information Act back in early 2010. The Boston Globe turned them up for the first time during this campaign season Wednesday. At that point, a Ryan aide referred ABC News back to what a Ryan spokesman said when the letters first went public.
"If Congressman Ryan is asked to help a Wisconsin entity applying for existing Federal grant funds, he does not believe flawed policy should get in the way of doing his job and providing a legitimate constituent service to his employers," the spokesman told the Milwaukee (Wisc.) Journal Sentinel.
Thursday, Ryan responded to the questions himself.
"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," he said in a statement. "This is why I didn't recall the letters earlier. 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."