Senate Judiciary Committee adviser working on Kavanaugh nomination resigns

Posted at 1:43 PM, Sep 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-22 15:43:07-04

Garrett Ventry, a communications adviser to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s GOP majority who had been working on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, resigned on Friday prior to the publication of a report about a past sexual harassment allegation against him.

Ventry denied the allegation, which was made while he worked in a previous job, but told CNN, “I don’t want to be a distraction.”

Kavanaugh is facing an allegation from a California professor, Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexually and physically assaulting her at a party more than three decades ago when the two were in high school. Kavanaugh has denied being at the party and the allegation of sexually and physically assaulting Ford.

Ventry’s resignation came just before NBC News reported on Saturday that Ventry, who had previously worked as a social media adviser in the office of North Carolina House Majority Leader John Bell, had been fired from his job in 2017 after facing an accusation of sexual harassment from a female employee of the North Carolina General Assembly and for allegedly embellishing parts of his resume.

CNN has not independently confirmed the allegation.

Bell could not be reached immediately by CNN for comment. The North Carolina lawmaker would not discuss the details of the firing with NBC News, but told the news organization: “Mr. Ventry did work in my office and he’s no longer there, he moved on.”

A Judiciary Committee spokesman told CNN: “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. While he strongly denies allegations of wrongdoing, he decided to resign to avoid causing any distraction from the work of the committee.”

While working for the committee, Ventry was employed by but on leave from CRC Public Relations, a conservative communications firm that has been pushing Kavanaugh’s nomination.

“Garrett was on a leave of absence,” a CRC spokesman told CNN. “We were not aware of these allegations, which he denies. As of this morning we have accepted his resignation.”

Politico has reported that CRC was working with GOP activist Ed Whelan, who posted a theory on Twitter on Thursday that a different Georgetown Preparatory School student might have been behind the alleged sexual assault on Ford. Whelan apologized for the post on Friday, saying in a Twitter post, “I made an appalling and inexcusable mistake of judgment in posting the tweet thread in a way that identified Kavanaugh’s Georgetown Prep classmate.”

In a tweet, Ventry told reporters asking about Whelan’s social media post, “The Senate Judiciary Committee had no knowledge or involvement.”