Who Is Max Stier? Witness of Alleged Brett Kavanaugh Misconduct at Yale Party Is CEO Of Government Reform Non-Profit

In Washington, D.C., Max Stier, the president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, a not-for-profit nonpartisan organization aimed at improving the way the federal government works, has long been a well-known name in political circles.

Now, however, the CEO's name⁠—and character⁠—have been thrust under the spotlight after he was identified in a New York Times piece as having allegedly witnessed an incident of sexual misconduct on now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's part at a dorm party in the 1980s while they were both still students at Yale University.

In a New York Times article published over the weekend, journalists Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly shared a number of revelations from their forthcoming book, The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation, including the allegation that Stier had witnessed an instance of misconduct from Kavanaugh.

According to their report, Stier, then a student at Yale, witnessed an alleged incident at a "drunken dorm party" in the mid-1980s in which he saw Kavanaugh's friends push his penis into the hands of a female student.

Stier had notified senators and the FBI about the alleged incident, however, the FBI did not investigate, according to the Times.

In a later update to the article, the Times said the female student involved in the alleged incident had declined to be interviewed, while friends said she did not "recall the episode."

A spokesperson for the Partnership for Public Service told Newsweek Stier "has no comment at this time."

Pogrebin and Kelly had also reported that he had been unwilling to discuss the allegation publicly. However, they said they were able to corroborate the story with "two officials" who have communicated with him.

While much remains unclear about the allegations in the Times piece, Stier's reputation has become a central focus in the wake of its publication, with conservative critics pointing out that the non-profit CEO had, at one point, been a member of former President Bill Clinton's legal team during the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal in 1998, while he was working for law firm Williams & Connolly.

"Is that the same Max Stier who was one of Clinton's defense attorneys? Yes, yes it is," Sean Davis, the co-founder of conservative online magazine The Federalist tweeted.

However, as high-profile lawyers and legal and ethics analysts have rushed to point out, Stier has long worked "on both sides of the aisle," with the non-profit CEO's partnership having even worked with both the Clinton and Trump campaigns in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election.

Responding directly to Davis' tweet, Michael Avenatti, the attorney who previously represented Stormy Daniels, asked: "Do you actually believe this nonsense?"

"Stier has worked on both sides of the aisle for decades and is widely respected by Dems and Repubs as you know. Stop trying to cover-up for your hand-picked 'federalist'," Avenatti said.

Sean - you are completely full of shit. Do you actually believe this nonsense? Stier has worked on both sides of the aisle for decades and is widely respected by Dems and Repubs as you know. Stop trying to cover-up for your hand-picked "federalist."

— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) September 15, 2019

Walter Shaub, the former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, also rose to defend Stier's reputation, noting how "well-respected" the Partnership for Public Service CEO is "by both sides of the aisle."

"Eyewitnesses often get attacked by supporters of the one whose conduct was witnessed," Shaub wrote in a tweet. "Before that happens, I'd like to add that Max Stier is well respected by both sides of the aisle, nonpartisan, smart and absolutely devoted to good government without regard to who's in power."

Shaub and Avenatti were not alone in coming to Stier's defence, however.

Jennifer Rubin, a self-identified "conservative blogger" at The Washington Post wrote in a tweet: "I know Max Stier. He is scrupulously honest and nonpartisan."

I know Max Stier. He is scrupulously honest and nonpartisan.

— Jennifer 'the people have decided' Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) September 15, 2019

"I've known Max Stier...for many years," Mieke Eoyang, the vice president of center-left think tank Third Way National Security weighed in. "He's been dedicated to integrity, ethics and effectiveness in government service and runs a non-profit that urges [the] same."

"That an allegation came from him should never have been taken lightly," Eoyang said.

Meanwhile, NBC News and MSNBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor, said that he had "no doubt" that Stier is "telling the truth."

"These are absolutely credible allegations," Kirschner said. "I know Max Stier, one of the witnesses named in the NYT article. There is no doubt in my mind he's telling the truth about what he witnessed Kavanaugh do. Congress needs to investigate."

And these are absolutely credible allegations. I know Max Stier, one of the witnesses named in the NYT article. There is no doubt in my mind he’s telling the truth about what he witnessed Kavanaugh do. Congress needs to investigate. https://t.co/1ZBl4g9t2w

— Glenn Kirschner (@glennkirschner2) September 15, 2019

According to a biography on the Partnership for Public Service's website, Stier has previously worked in all three branches of federal government, most recently having as the Deputy General Counsel for Litigation at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In 1982, he served on the personal staff of Congressman Jim Leach, while in 1992, he clerked for Chief Judge James Oakes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, before going on to clerk for Justice David Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1994.

It was in 1995 that Stier joined Williams & Connolly, where he practiced primarily in the white-collar defense.

His alleged account of having witnessed misconduct from Kavanaugh in the mid-1980s, is one of several allegations surrounding the justice, who was successfully appointed to the Supreme Court despite widespread outrage over the sexual misconduct claims, including Christine Blasey Ford's allegations that he assaulted her at a house party in the 1980s.

In addition to Ford's account, which was at the center of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing scrutinizing Kavanaugh's nomination, the now Supreme Court justice also faced allegations from a woman named Deborah Ramirez, who said that he had also sexually assaulted her at a party during the same decade.

During the hearings, Kavanaugh suggested that if Ramirez's account that he had pulled his pants down and thrust his penis at her, forcing her touch it in order to swat it away, were true, it would have been the "talk of the campus" at the time of the incident.

In their Times piece, Pogrebin and Kelly say their "reporting suggests that it was."

"At least seven people, including Ms. Ramirez's mother heard about the Yale incident long before Mr. Kavanaugh was a federal judge," they write. Meanwhile, "two of those people were classmates who learned of it just days after the party occurred, suggesting that it was discussed among students at the time."

Newsweek has tried to reach Kavanaugh for comment for this article. The Supreme Court justice reportedly refused to speak with the Times after they could not "agree on terms for an interview," Pogrebin and Kelly said.

In the wake of the Times report, there have been fresh calls for Kavanaugh's impeachment, including from 2020 Democratic presidential candidates Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Kamala Harris, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and former Representative Beto O'Rourke.

On Sunday evening, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg said he would also support impeachment.

Meanwhile, Senators Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar said they would like to see further investigations into the allegations swirling around Kavanaugh, while former Vice President Joe Biden and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also joined in those calls.

This article has been updated with a response from a spokesperson from the Partnership for Public Service, who told Newsweek Max Stier has no comment at this time.

President and CEO of Partnership For Public Service Max Stier. Stier has been named as having allegedly witnessed an incident of sexual misconduct carried out by now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh while both were students at Yale University. Amy Sussman/Getty