The top Republican on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee said Thursday that he has received “numerous credible allegations” that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was aware of sexual harassment and assaults of city employees committed by his close friend and adviser, but did nothing to stop the misconduct, documents showed Thursday.
In a statement released by his office, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said he intended to object to President Joe Biden’s nomination of Garcetti to serve as ambassador to India, which has been languishing in the Senate since July.
“The United States owes it to the Republic of India to send them a qualified ambassador that will represent the values of the United States,” Grassley wrote.
“Mayor Garcetti may very well be fully qualified, but at this time, the Senate needs to look into these allegations further,” Grassley added. “Until my staff and I have conducted a thorough investigation and are able to speak with everyone involved I cannot vote to confirm Mr. Garcetti.”
At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in December, Garcetti told senators considering his nomination that he never witnessed former adviser Rick Jacobs sexually harass one of his police bodyguards, allegations that are at the center of a lawsuit filed against his administration.
In a statement Thursday, Garcetti’s office responded: “Repeating a malicious falsehood will never turn a lie into the truth. The mayor has testified under oath multiple times, including before the U.S. Senate, and stands by his testimony unequivocally: He absolutely did not witness nor was he informed of any of the behavior being alleged.”
The lawsuit against the city charges that Jacobs frequently sexually harassed one of the mayor’s police bodyguards while Garcetti ignored it or laughed it off. The mayor has repeatedly denied the claims.
Jacobs has called the allegations against him “pure fiction,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
In his statement, Grassley wrote that “whistleblowers who have spoken with my office have not previously spoken to the Foreign Relations Committee, and are presenting new allegations that must be fully investigated.”
“Serious questions remain regarding the alleged misconduct, as well as the mayor’s knowledge of that misconduct,” Grassley added.
Grassley’s statement was first reported by the website Politico.