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Ed Whelan taking ‘leave of absence’ after posting Kavanaugh theory

The Ethics and Public Policy Center’s board declined Ed Whelan’s offer to step down permanently as president. | Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

The Ethics and Public Policy Center announced Sunday that its president, Ed Whelan, “will take a leave of absence” from the conservative Washington think tank after peddling a conspiracy theory on social media last week related to a sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Following a special phone-in meeting of the EPPC board on Friday after Whelan’s Twitter screed, he offered to resign “in light of what he described as an ‘appalling and inexcusable’ error in posting online a series of comments that he has now deleted and for which he promptly publicly apologized,” the organization said in a statement.

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The board declined Whelan’s offer to step down permanently, according to the statement, and the EPPC’s vice president, Yuval Levin, “will be in charge” during Whelan’s time away.

“The board will meet in a month to review the situation,” the statement said.

Ed Whelan

Whelan became the target of swift bipartisan criticism on Thursday evening after offering an unsubstantiated alternative explanation for Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation that Kavanaugh forced himself on her at a drunken high school party more than three decades ago.

His conjectures, laid out in a series of tweets, included floor plans of the house in which Whelan said the alleged assault may have taken place. It also featured the name and photo of a high school classmate of Kavanaugh’s whom Whelan identified as a potential suspect and posited that Ford may have misremembered as the federal judge.

POLITICO reported on Friday that CRC Public Relations, a prominent firm based in Alexandria, Va., assisted Whelan in coordinating the rollout of his attempt to discredit Ford’s account and exculpate Kavanaugh.

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