Ryan Says His Letters In Support Of Stimulus 'Should Have Been Handled Differently'

By: CNN Posted By: Stephanie Schultz
By: CNN Posted By: Stephanie Schultz
Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan

(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.

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. http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/news/political/9-news-sits-down-with-vp-candidate-paul-ryan

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 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."

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