Update: Antal, who describes himself as an independent, has voted in Democratic primaries for the past 17 years.
The head of a northeast Ohio charity says that the Romney campaign lastÂ week â€śramrodded their wayâ€ť into the groupâ€™s Youngstown soup kitchen so thatÂ GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan could get his picture taken washingÂ dishes in the dining hall.
Brian J. Antal, president of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De PaulÂ Society, said that he was not contacted by the Romney campaign ahead of theÂ Saturday morning visit by Ryan, who stopped by the soup kitchen after aÂ town hall at Youngstown State University.
â€śWeâ€™re a faith-based organization; we are apolitical because the majorityÂ of our funding is from private donations,â€ť AntalÂ said in a phone interviewÂ Monday afternoon. â€śItâ€™s strictly in our bylaws not to do it. They showed upÂ there, and they did not have permission. They got one of the volunteers toÂ open up the doors.â€ť
He added: â€śThe photo-op they didÂ wasn'tÂ even accurate. He did nothing. HeÂ just came in here to get his picture taken at the dining hall.â€ť Antal later told NBC News that Ryan had cleaned some dirty dishes; his original comment was based on secondhand information from a volunteer.Â
Ryan had stopped by the soup kitchen for about 15 minutes on his way to theÂ airport after his Saturday morning town hall in Youngstown. By the time heÂ arrived, the food had already been served, the patrons had left, and theÂ hall had been cleaned.
Upon entering the soup kitchen, Ryan, his wife and three young childrenÂ greeted and thanked several volunteers, then donned white aprons and offered to clean someÂ dishes. Photographers snapped photos and TV cameras shot footage of RyanÂ and his family washing pots and pans that did notÂ appear to be dirty.
According to a Romney aide not authorized to speak publicly about theÂ event, the campaign followed its usual protocol for impromptu, on-the-roadÂ stops by candidates: A staffer was dispatched to the St. Vincent De PaulÂ Society ahead of Ryanâ€™s visit Saturday morning and spoke with a woman inÂ charge on site, who said that it would be fine for the congressman to stopÂ by. The campaign did not contact AntalÂ ahead of the visit.
The woman on site told the Romney staffer that some of the volunteers hadÂ already left, but that most were happy to remain until Ryan arrived,Â according to the aide. After Ryan left the soup kitchen, the womanÂ approached a campaign staffer and expressed gratitude for Ryanâ€™s visit, theÂ aide said.
Chris Maloney, Ohio communications director for the Romney campaign, saidÂ that the visit by Ryan had been intended to highlight the work of the soupÂ kitchen volunteers.
"Our campaign and Congressman Ryan were pleased to bring attention to theÂ meaningful charitable contributions the St. Vincent De Paul Society makesÂ to people in need,â€ť Maloney said.
Antal, a self-described independent voter, said that he â€ścanâ€™t fault myÂ volunteersâ€ť for letting the campaign in but said that the campaign Â â€śdidn'tÂ go through the proper channels.â€ť
He noted that the soup kitchen relies on funding from private individuals who might reconsider theirÂ support if it appears that the charity is favoring one political candidateÂ over another.
â€śI canâ€™t afford to lose funding from these private individuals,â€ť he said.Â â€śIfÂ this was the Democrats, Iâ€™d have the same exact problem.â€ť
He added that the incident had caused him "all kinds of grief" and that regardless of whether Ryan had intended to serve food to patrons or wash dishes, he would not have allowed the visit to take place.Â
â€śHad they asked for permission, itÂ wouldn'tÂ have been granted. ... But IÂ certainlyÂ wouldn'tÂ have let him wash clean pans, and then take a picture,â€ť AntalÂ said.
Aaron Blake contributed to this post.
VIDEO: GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan stopped at a soup kitchen in Youngstown, Ohio on Saturday, where he and members of his family washed dishes for several minutes. The head of the charity has since come out saying Ryan's visit violated the organization's apolitical status, and that Ryan "just came in here to get his picture taken."