The Palm Beach Post

Grassley adviser on confirmati­on quits after harassment allegation

- By Seung Min Kim The Washington Post The Washington Post’s Sean Sullivan contribute­d to this report.

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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