Who is Brett Blanton Wiki, Biography, Age, Family, Joe Biden fires 12th Architect of Capitol

Brett Blanton Wiki, Biography

President Biden on Monday fired the architect of the Capitol, J. Brett Blanton, who came under scrutiny by lawmakers after his agency’s internal watchdog alleged he misused government resources and wasted taxpayer dollars. “After doing our due diligence, the Architect of the Capitol was terminated at the president’s direction,” a White House official confirmed to CBS News.

Blanton was informed of his termination, effective at 5 p.m., in a letter Monday from Gautam Raghavan, assistant to the president for presidential personnel. The role is subject to removal by the president.

His dismissal came after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Bryan Steil, chairman of the House Administration Committee, called for his resignation. McCarthy said Blanton “no longer has my confidence to continue in his job.”

New York Rep. Joe Morelle, the top Democrat on the Administration panel, praised Mr. Biden’s decision to fire Blanton.

“President Biden did the right thing and heeded my call for action,” he said in a statement.

As architect of the Capitol, Blanton was the top official tasked with overseeing the Capitol complex’s facilities, operations, historical artifacts and grounds. He was appointed to the role by former President Donald Trump for a 10-year term and confirmed by the Senate in 2019.

Blanton testified before an Administration Committee panel last week and fielded questions from members about the findings of an investigation into his conduct by the architect of the Capitol’s inspector general published in October 2022. The inspector general’s report detailed how Blanton abused his authority, misused government property and wasted taxpayer dollars, including by allowing members of his family to use three different government-owned vehicles assigned to him.

While the vehicles were meant to be driven to and from work by Blanton, the review discovered that the cars were used for weekend trips to a craft brewery, going out of town and general family use. The vehicles were driven by his wife and adult daughter “on a regular basis,” according to the inspector general’s report.

Blanton’s daughter told investigators that she transported her friends and boyfriend in the government-issued vehicle, and referred to using the fuel as “free gas,” according to the report.

In one instance in June 2020, Blanton used his government-issued Jeep Grand Cherokee to go after a suspect involved in a hit-and-run that took place near his house. The police report from the incident, which involved the boyfriend of Blanton’s daughter, identified him as an “off-duty police officer.”

During his appearance before the Administration Committee on Thursday, Blanton blamed his wife and daughter for using the vehicles and urged lawmakers to raise their concerns about the vehicle usage with them.

Blanton also enraged lawmakers when he acknowledged he did not respond in-person to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of Trump’s supporters breached the building.

“I am outraged that you would be in a comfortable place, sir, while the rest of us were thinking about dying that day and how we were going to come out alive that day,” Rep. Norma Torres, a California Democrat, told Blanton. “Outrageous that you were not here.”

The inspector general’s report further alleged that Blanton’s wife offered tours of the Capitol while it was closed to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The internal review found a “significant amount of administrative, ethical and policy violations as well as evidence of criminal violations throughout the investigation,” according to the report. “Blanton misled and provided false information to investigators on multiple occasions. Blanton used taxpayer dollars to fund an additional personal vehicle for his family.”

The inspector general’s office said it is “dedicated to promoting economy and efficiency and preventing and detecting fraud, waste and abuse within the AOC’s programs and operations. Blanton’s actions have violated every pillar the OIG operates under including theft, fraud, waste and abuse against not only the AOC but also the taxpayer.”

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