Senate Confirms Former LA Mayor Eric Garcetti As Ambassador To India

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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The Senate voted Wednesday to confirm former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to be Ambassador to India, nearly two years after President Joe Biden nominated him to the position.

Biden first nominated Garcetti in July 2021 to serve as ambassador, and renominated him at the beginning of the 118th Congress. Republicans and some Democrats objected to Garcetti, noting allegations that he knew about and covered up top aide Rick Jacobs’ sexual misconduct allegations. Seven Republicans voted with 45 Democrats to confirm Garcetti, while three Democrats, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and Mark Kelly of Arizona, voted with 39 Republicans in opposing the nomination.

Republican Sens. Todd Young of Indiana, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, Susan Collins of Maine, Steve Daines of Montana, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Roger Marshall of Kansas, and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana voted to confirm Garcetti.

Marshall acknowledged the accusations against Garcetti, but told reporters he voted to confirm him to the post due to its extended vacancy.

“I met with him several times, had several discussions with him. He answered all of my questions. We don’t agree on a lot of things politically, but I found him engaging. He’s bright. He’ll be a good representative there. We asked him all the appropriate questions regarding one of his assistant’s some type of sexual abuse issue, and he answered those to my satisfaction. We need someone in India yesterday,” he said.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee previously advanced Garcetti’s nomination, with Hagerty and Young joining all 11 Democrats in voting for the former mayor. (RELATED: LA Mayor Eric Garcetti Literally Gets Mommy And Daddy To Lobby Joe Biden To Give Him A Job)

Garcetti allegedly knew of Jacobs’ alleged repeated sexual harassment and assault of employees and police officers attached to the Los Angeles mayor’s office, but did not take action, according to multiple alleged victims and a report commissioned by Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley. Grassley’s report found that Garcetti “more likely than not… either had personal knowledge of” Jacobs’ alleged harassment of city employees “or should have been aware of it.”

Los Angeles Police Department officer Matthew Garza accused Jacobs of hugging him, feeling his muscles, and making suggestive remarks, the LA Times reported, while former Garcetti communications director Naomi Seligman alleged that Jacobs kissed her on the lips in front of her entire staff.

“My office identified over 19 individuals who’ve either witnessed Jacobs’ behavior or were the victims of it. So who are these brave and courageous individuals who made these allegations? Are they Republican operatives? No. They’re his former Communications Director, senior staffers, junior staffers, businessmen, civic leaders, and a Los Angeles Police Department officer assigned to protect him,” Grassley said in a statement ahead of the vote. “This isn’t a political hit job. This is a nonpartisan endeavor to stop an inadequate nominee.”

Garcetti’s alleged ties to the United Front Work Department (UFWD), a Chinese Communist Party organization that allegedly coordinates overseas spying, also came into question during the proceedings. Garcetti’s mayoral fund received more than $1 million in donations from individuals with ties to UFWD, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported. He also reportedly attended events with individuals tied to UFWD-connected organizations.