Grass­ley ad­viser on con­fir­ma­tion quits af­ter ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tion

Austin American-Statesman Sunday - - NATION & WORLD - By Se­ung Min Kim

WASH­ING­TON — A com­mu­ni­ca­tions ad­viser to Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee Chair­man Charles Grass­ley, R-Iowa, dur­ing the Supreme Court con­fir­ma­tion fight has abruptly re­signed af­ter an ac­cu­sa­tion of sex­ual ha­rass­ment — an al­le­ga­tion he de­nies.

Gar­rett Ven­try sub­mit­ted his res­ig­na­tion Fri­day night, he said in a brief phone in­ter­view Satur­day morn­ing. He said he de­nies the al­le­ga­tion but stepped down “in or­der to not be a dis­trac­tion” as Se­nate Repub­li­cans con­tinue to work to get Supreme Court nom­i­nee Brett Ka­vanaugh con­firmed.

“Gar­rett was one of sev­eral tem­po­rary staff brought on to as­sist in the com­mit­tee’s con­sid­er­a­tion of the Supreme Court nom­i­na­tion, a team that has done out­stand­ing work,” a com­mit­tee spokesman said Satur­day morn­ing. “While he strongly de­nies al­le­ga­tions of wrong­do­ing, he de­cided to re­sign to avoid caus­ing any dis­trac­tion from the work of the com­mit­tee.”

NBC News re­ported Satur­day that it had been in­ves­ti­gat­ing Ven­try’s past em­ploy­ment his­tory, in­clud­ing his ten­ure in the of­fice of North Carolina House Ma­jor­ity Leader John Bell in 2017. Ac­cord­ing to the net­work, Ven­try was let go from the of­fice af­ter a fe­male GOP staffer in the North Carolina Gen­eral Assem­bly ac­cused him of sex­ual ha­rass­ment. He had also been ac­cused of em­bel­lish­ing his ré­sumé.

Bell told NBC News that “Mr. Ven­try did work in my of­fice and he’s no longer there, he moved on.” Bell did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to re­quests for com­ment on Satur­day.

Be­fore com­ing on tem­po­rar­ily to Grass­ley’s staff, Ven­try worked at CRC Pub­lic Re­la­tions, a prom­i­nent pub­lic re­la­tions firm for con­ser­va­tive causes based in Alexan­dria, Va., that rep­re­sents in­flu­en­tial le­gal groups on the right such as the Fed­er­al­ist So­ci­ety and the Ju­di­cial Cri­sis Net­work.

The firm said in a state­ment that Ven­try had been on a leave of ab­sence and that he had re­signed as of Satur­day morn­ing. The com­pany also said it was not aware of the al­le­ga­tions against Ven­try.

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