Lamar Alexander’s chief of staff arrested on child pornography charges

The chief of staff to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) was arrested Wednesday on charges of possessing and distributing child pornography and was swiftly fired by the senator.

Jesse Ryan Loskarn, 35, was arrested at his D.C. home Wednesday afternoon by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and is expected to appear in federal court in Washington on Thursday to face charges, the Justice Department said.

Word of the investigation was first revealed in a statement issued by Alexander, who said he was “stunned, surprised and disappointed” by the news and would be placing Loskarn on unpaid administrative leave. The news spread quickly across Capitol Hill among Loskarn’s colleagues and friends in the close-knit worlds of congressional staffers and Capitol Hill reporters with whom he worked for years.

Alexander later announced that he had “removed” Loskarn from his staff and replaced him with another longtime aide, David Cleary.

Like many longtime congressional staffers, Loskarn climbed the ranks on the House side of Capitol Hill before moving to senior positions in the Senate. He began as an aide to then-Rep. Wally Herger (R-Calif.), moved to the press staff of the House Rules Committee and spent four years as a spokesman for Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).

He moved next to the Senate Republican Conference — the messaging shop for GOP senators — and became staff director when Alexander assumed control of the office in 2009. He later became the chief of staff of Alexander’s personal office when the senator stepped down from his leadership perch, announcing that he hoped to work on building more bipartisanship in the Senate.

Sean Sullivan contributed to this report.

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.
Matt Zapotosky covers the federal district courthouse in Alexandria, where he tries to break news from a windowless office in which he is not allowed to bring his cell phone.
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