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Tipsheet

Why Biden Just Fired the Architect of the Capitol

AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe

President Biden on Monday fired the Architect of the Capitol Brett Blanton after bipartisan outrage grew following an Inspector General report that identified multiple ethics concerns.  

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“After doing our due diligence, the Architect of Capitol was terminated at the President’s direction,” a White House official told The Hill.

Earlier in the day, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called on Blanton, who oversees the Capitol complex, to step down or be fired, joining similar calls from House Administration Committee Chairman Bryan Steil of Wisconsin and ranking member Joseph Morelle of New York.  

An inspector general report released in October found that Blanton and his family had misused Architect of the Capitol vehicles intended for home-to-work use as personal vehicles, resulting in nearly $14,000 worth of inappropriate costs.

The report also found that Blanton had been improperly identified as an off-duty police officer during an incident when he chased down a hit-and-run that happened outside his residence. Blanton denied misrepresenting himself as law enforcement, saying that it was a mistake on the part of Fairfax County Police after Blanton identified himself a “Capitol Police Board Member.”

House lawmakers grilled Blanton over the report in a House Administration hearing last week, where Blanton pushed back on the report. Blanton said in the hearing that he used the vehicle during an out-of-state family vacation because he was “under the impression that I had to use that vehicle” so he could have quick communication with the Capitol Police Board in case of any emergency.

“I wholeheartedly reject any assertion that I engaged in unethical behavior during my service to this country,” Blanton said in the hearing. (The Hill)

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Blanton also came under fire for not being present at the Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot, and having a telework policy at the office.

“The Inspector General’s report was highly concerning, which is, in part, why our first hearing was dedicated to providing oversight over the AOC. His refusal to be transparent and truthful has made clear that he can no longer lead the organization and must resign immediately. I look forward to continuing to conduct robust oversight to ensure our government is accountable to the American people,” Steil said on Monday.

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