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Grassley aide resigns after questions about past sexual harassment allegation

Garrett Ventry, a communications adviser and spokesman for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, has resigned. NBC News, which first reported the resignation, said the decision came after the outlet "raised questions about Ventry's employment history" and a sexual harassment allegation against him.

Ventry was helping with the GOP's response to an allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford 36 years ago at a party. 

NBC reported Saturday that Ventry had worked as a social media adviser in 2017 in North Carolina House Majority Leader John Bell's office. It reported that "sources familiar with the situation" said Ventry was let go "after parts of his resume were found to have been embellished, and because he faced an accusation of sexual harassment from a female employee of the North Carolina General Assembly's Republican staff."

In a statement to CBS News Saturday, Ventry said, "I deny allegations of misconduct at the NC House." He said he submitted his resignation to the Senate Judiciary Committee "to not be a distraction to their work."

"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 told CBS News. "While he strongly denies allegations of wrongdoing, he decided to resign to avoid causing any distraction from the work of the committee."

Ventry was also previously employed at CRC Public Relations, a right-wing media consulting firm that helped conservative legal activist Ed Whelan craft a Twitter thread alleging that Ford may have mistaken Kavanaugh for another student.

CRC said in a statement to CBS News that Ventry had resigned. "Garrett was on a leave of absence. We were not aware of these allegations, which he denies. As of this morning we have accepted his resignation," a spokesperson said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has been embroiled in a standoff as Republicans and Ford's lawyer discuss how, and whether, Ford will appear before the committee. Committee staff and Ford seemed to have reached a stalemate on the issue.

  • Grace Segers

    Grace Segers is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.