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Senate Committee Schedules Garcetti’s Ambassador Hearing For Dec. 14

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti stands in front of the Griffith Observatory. He is wearing a dark suit, white shirt and tie, and his hands are clasped at his waist.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti after holding his annual State of the City address from the Griffith Observatory on April 19, 2021.
(Gary Coronado
/
AFP via Getty Images)
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It’s been more than four months since Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was announced as President Joe Biden’s pick to be the next U.S. Ambassador to India.

You may be wondering: Wasn’t he supposed to head off to that new gig by now?

Things are finally moving along: Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff have finished vetting Garcetti for the nomination, and his hearing is now scheduled for Dec. 14.

Biden nominees for a range of key State Department posts have been slowed to a crawl by Senate Republicans. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have denounced the tactic as a political stunt that harms national security.

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Garcetti got the nod back in July, but the process appeared to stall out in the fall, as confirmation for another high-profile nominee moved forward.

Rahm Emanuel, a former Mayor of Chicago and chief of staff to President Barack Obama, was nominated to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan in August. Emanuel’s nomination has moved to the full Senate, while Garcetti’s earlier nomination waited for his committee hearing.

Some wonder whether the delay was tied to a lawsuit from a former member of Garcetti’s security detail, LAPD Officer Matthew Garza, who accuses the mayor of enabling sexual harassment by a former top aide, Rick Jacobs.

Multiple former Garcetti staffers said under oath that Garcetti and his chief of staff, Ana Guerrero, knew about Jacobs’ behavior. Other staffers indicated in text conversations released during the discovery phase of the lawsuit that Jacobs’ sexually explicit remarks and harassing conduct were common knowledge in the office. Garcetti, Guerrero and other top staff have denied any knowledge of inappropriate conduct, and Jacobs has denied engaging in the behavior alleged in the lawsuit.

A Senate Foreign Relations Committee spokesperson confirmed recently to the L.A. Times that the panel was reviewing Garza’s allegations.

If Garcetti leaves for India, the city council has the option to hold a special election, but will likely appoint an interim mayor to complete his term, which ends in December 2022.