'Draft Ryan' presidential effort to shut down

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A group that sought to pressure Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanReid: Intelligence community should 'fake it' on Trump’s briefings Trump steals the spotlight at Democratic convention Spokesman denies that Trump invited Russia to hack Clinton MORE (R-Wis.) into launching a 2016 White House bid will be shutting down its activities after repeated denunciations from its desired candidate.

The Committee to Draft Speaker Ryan for President said Friday that it would cease its efforts to collect 1 million signatures for a petition urging the GOP's 2012 vice presidential nominee to put himself forward in the event of an open convention.

The announcement came a day after a lawyer representing Ryan's political operation sent a cease-and-desist letter to the group warning of potential legal repercussions.

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"[I]t’s become increasingly clear that the Committee’s efforts, however well intended, could become an unwanted distraction to the Speaker's current responsibilities. As a result, the committee is immediately ending its activities and closing down operations," the group said in a statement.

The group had removed a "donate" button on its website and stressed that it was only trying to collect signatures. Its website further noted that it was "not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee."

Some Republicans eager for an alternative to Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump campaign dismisses Dem attacks as ‘night of empty rhetoric’ Obama makes case for Clinton to succeed him FULL SPEECH: President Obama at the Democratic convention MORE, the current front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, have floated Ryan, who was also initially reluctant to take the Speaker job last year, as a possibility.

Ryan nonetheless distanced himself from the organization, first by formally disavowing it last week and sending the cease-and-desist letter through his attorney.

Ryan, through a spokesman, called for GOP unity in addressing the group's leader, Earle Mack, a businessman and former ambassador to Finland.

"Speaker Ryan is grateful for Amb. Mack's passion. He cares deeply about the future of our country. Speaker Ryan does too, and that's why he is focused on advancing a bold policy agenda with his House colleagues to unify our party and turn around our country,” Ryan spokesman Zack Roday said.

The Speaker will be chairing the Republican National Convention in July and has said repeatedly he will support whoever emerges as his party's nominee. He also ruled out running for president last year.

"It is in the public interest for your organization to cease potentially confusing and misleading people into supporting your organization," Timothy Kronquist, his attorney, wrote in the Thursday letter to the group's treasurer, David Satterfield.

—Updated at 3:09 p.m.

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