Brett Blanton, Architect of the Capitol has been dismissed from his post in government after accusations of his mismanagement of funds came to light on Monday.
After facing an oversight hearing last week regarding an internal report that detailed Blanton’s misuse of the organization’s resources, President Joe Biden made the decision at the beginning of the week to fire him, with bipartisan support. The report specified instances of how Blanton “abused his authority, misused government property and wasted taxpayer money, among other substantial violations.”
Then, when questioned about his whereabouts on January 6th, 2021, he said that he was not on Capitol grounds while the insurrection was taking place. This appeared to be odd during his Senate Hearing as it was his job to protect the building and surrounding areas mainly from visitors, but also in the case of events such as this. To this he said that he had stayed away from Capitol Hill as he did not think they would reach the building at any point given the massive amounts of people that were surrounding it.
As a result, various members of Congress were enraged by this, given that many other law enforcement officials were risking their lives on the grounds of the Capitol Complex at that time trying to keep the chaos of the event under control.
Furthermore, he was also accused of using taxpayer funds on personal affairs. The incident cited was that of his using official cars for personal trips, which he refuted by saying that he only used them when needed to rush back to the Capitol, according to the New York Times. This alone ended up costing an estimated $14,000 of taxpayer dollars.
To add some more background, the position of the Architect of the Capitol acts as the overseer of the maintenance, operation, development and preservation of the United States Capitol Complex, according to the institution’s website, which consists of over 18 million square feet and 570 acres of land. It is a part of the legislative branch of the U.S. government, and as such deals with the decisions being made on the Capitol field.
Blanton, who was appointed under the Trump Administration in 2019, has completely denied the accusations and claims to be frustrated with the process.
Following Blanton’s departure, the Agency’s Chief Director of Operations, Joseph DiPietro, assumed the role on Monday.
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