December 18, 2004
Rep. Ryan admits mistake, pays fine
By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service
WASHINGTON — Second-term Rep. Tim Ryan reported Friday he has paid a $10,000 fine to the Federal Election Commission after violating a campaign finance law.
Ryan, D-Niles, said he took out a $50,000 loan for his 2002 primary campaign but made the mistake of getting it guaranteed by another person, which at the time was a violation for any loan more than $1,000.
His former high school coach, Dennis Rossi, co-signed the loan because Ryan did not have enough collateral to guarantee the loan himself. Ryan, an attorney, was a state legislator at the time.
“Mr. Rossi signed only after my assertions that the FEC had given verbal approval for the transaction,” Ryan said in a statement. The congressman took full responsibility for what he said was a misunderstanding of campaign finance law, and apologized to Rossi and his family.
Ryan repaid the loan in May 2002, when he discovered the error, his campaign treasurer Michael Fraioli said. Ryan’s campaign paid the fines assessed against both Rossi and the campaign.
Ryan said he reached an agreement with the FEC to settle the matter earlier this month. FEC officials said whatever agreement was reached has not yet been made public by the commission.
There is no limit on the amount of money a candidate can loan to his own campaign. However, a loan that is guaranteed by another person is treated as a campaign contribution, and is limited to $2,000 per election. Two years ago, the limit was $1,000.