Speaker seeks halt to 'Draft Ryan' presidential effort
© Haiyun Jiang

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanA warning to Ryan’s successor: The Speakership is no cakewalk Republicans divided over legislation protecting Mueller The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE's (R-Wis.) political operation is warning a group trying to draft him as a GOP presidential alternative that it's at risk of violating campaign finance laws if it doesn't end its activities. 

Ryan last week disavowed a new super-PAC aiming to pressure him to mount a White House bid, but the group has remained active in collecting signatures for its online petition.

Timothy Kronquist, an attorney representing Ryan, urged David Satterfield, the treasurer of the Committee to Draft Speaker Ryan, to end the group's activities in a cease-and-desist letter on Thursday first reported by Reuters.

"We believe the actions of your organization are not in compliance with federal law and may constitute fraudulent solicitation of funds," Kronquist wrote.

"It is in the public interest for your organization to cease potentially confusing and misleading people into supporting your organization," he added.

A spokesman for the Committee to Draft Speaker Ryan emphasized that it is only trying to collect signatures and has removed a "donate" button. Individuals can also now sign onto the petition without providing their email addresses.

"While we haven’t had an opportunity to review the letter in full, as reported, it’s a sad commentary on the state of our politics today. The Committee to Draft Speaker Ryan is simply a patriotic effort to save our party and save our country,” said spokesman David Catalfamo.

The group's website, which touts a form for supporters to sign the petition, notes that it is "not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee."

Ryan, who initially declined pleas for him to run for Speaker last year, has been floated by some establishment Republicans desperate for an alternative to front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIG investigating Comey memos over classified information: report Overnight Defense: Congress poised for busy week on nominations, defense bill | Trump to deliver Naval Academy commencement speech | Trump administration appeals decision to block suspected combatant's transfer Top Pruitt aid requested backdate to resignation letter: report MORE

But Ryan, who was the party's 2012 vice presidential nominee, has repeatedly said he's not interested in the presidency and plans to support whoever emerges as the nominee.