Join our brand new verified AMN Telegram channel and get important news uncensored!

Biden fires Architect of the Capitol amid controversy

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks after his recovery from COVID-19 in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, D.C. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
February 13, 2023

President Joe Biden has fired Architect of the Capitol J. Brett Blanton, who was responsible for maintaining the U.S. Capitol, amid mounting allegations of ethics violations.

A White House official told CNN that Biden terminated Blanton on Monday following bipartisan calls for his resignation, echoed that day by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

“After doing our due diligence, the Architect of Capitol was terminated at the President’s direction,” the official said.

An inspector general report released in the fall had accused Blanton of offering Capitol tours to “patriots” ahead of the 2020 presidential election, as well as letting family members drive his government-owned vehicle and taking the vehicle on vacations out of state.

The AOC inspector general identified a total of $13,926.56 in taxpayer funds allegedly misused by Blanton, according to the report.

Lawmakers had pressed Blanton to resign after the report was released, but he never addressed it publicly until Thursday, when he was brought before the House Administration Committee, as reported by Roll Call. At the hearing, Blanton said he “wholeheartedly reject[s] any assertion that I engaged in unethical behavior.”

“The report is filled with errors, omissions, mischaracterizations, misstatements and conclusory statements lacking evidence,” he said.

During the hearing, lawmakers also condemned Blanton for not being present during the Capitol storming on Jan. 6, 2021. He was working remotely that day and stayed home, thinking he would not have been able to gain access “because of the security situation,” Roll Call reported.

Blanton was appointed by former President Donald Trump in 2020. Architects of the Capitol serve a 10-year term and oversee an agency, also called the Architect of the Capitol, whose duty is to “maintain and preserve the buildings and grounds” of the Capitol, according to the agency’s website.

In a statement, the House Administration Committee’s ranking member, Rep. Joe Morelle (D-NY), said he “firmly stand[s] behind” Blanton’s firing and aims to “immediately” start searching for his replacement.

“After being given the opportunity to respond to numerous allegations of legal, ethical, and administrative violations, and failing to directly respond, the President has removed Mr. Brett Blanton from his position,” Morelle said. “President Biden did the right thing and heeded my call for action.”

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.