Dem senators Heitkamp, Donnelly urge bipartisanship in farewell speeches
Aide for GOP involved in Kavanaugh nomination resigns after past sexual harassment allegation surfaces
A spokesman for the Senate Judiciary Committee who was involved in Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court has abruptly resigned after allegations surfaced that he was dismissed from a previous job following a claim of sexual misconduct.
Garrett Ventry had been working as a communications official for the committee and focusing on messaging for the GOP amid Christine Blasey Ford's allegation of sexual assault against Kavanaugh.
"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 Judiciary Committee spokesperson told The Hill on Saturday.
"While he strongly denies allegations of wrongdoing, he decided to resign to avoid causing any distraction from the work of the committee," they added.
Ventry denied any "allegations of misconduct" in a statement to NBC News, which first reported his dismissal on Saturday.
Ventry had previously worked for the conservative firm CRC Public Relations. A company spokesman said in a statement to The Hill that Ventry had been on a leave of absence.
"We were not aware of these allegations, which he denies. As of this morning we have accepted his resignation," he said.
Politico had reported this week that the CRC assisted lawyer and activist Ed Whelan in promoting an unfounded theory about the sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh, which Whelan later removed from Twitter.
NBC News reported Saturday that Republicans were concerned Ventry could no longer lead messaging surrounding the Kavanaugh allegation because of the allegation made in his past.
The allegation was reportedly made by a female employee of the North Carolina GOP General Assembly. Ventry worked as a social media adviser in North Carolina House Majority Leader John Bell's (R) office last year.
Bell fired Ventry after a few months. The North Carolina leader told NBC News that Ventry had worked in his office and "moved on," but declined to discuss specifics surrounding the dismissal.
Ventry's departure comes as the GOP-led Senate Judiciary Committee negotiates with Ford's lawyers over her appearing before the panel next week.
Grassley has given Ford until 2:30 p.m. on Saturday to decided whether to testify about the allegations.
- Jordain Carney contributed reporting
This post was last updated at 11:41 a.m.