President Joe Biden has fired Architect of the Capitol J. Brett Blanton, a White House official instructed NBC Information on Monday, within the wake of a report that stated he had abused his authority and misused taxpayer cash whereas overseeing the Capitol complex.
“After doing our due diligence, the Architect of [the] Capitol was terminated on the President’s path,” the official stated in a press release.
NBC Information has reached out to Blanton’s office for remark.
Blanton’s dismissal comes months after an inspector general report substantiated claims that he had abused his authority. Final week, he was pressed on these findings and different points, resembling his absence from the Capitol through the Jan. 6 riot, whereas testifying earlier than the Committee on Home Administration.
On the listening to, Blanton stated he was “pissed off by the present distraction created by the inspector basic’s report. “I wholeheartedly reject any assertion I’ve engaged in unethical habits throughout my service to this nation,” he stated.
The committee chair, Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis., issued a press release Monday calling on Blanton to resign, saying his “refusal to be clear and truthful has made clear that he can now not lead the group and should resign instantly.”
That decision was echoed by Home Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who tweeted that Blanton “now not has my confidence to proceed in his job. He ought to resign or President Biden ought to take away him instantly.”
Blanton may solely be eliminated by the president as a result of the Architect of the Capitol is a presidential appointee who’s confirmed by the Senate. Blanton was nominated to a 10-year time period by former President Donald Trump; he began the job in January 2020.
Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell instructed NBC Information, “I agree with the president’s resolution to fireside the architect.”
“We took a have a look at the entire scenario, having handled this man for some time, and I feel the president made the proper resolution,” McConnell, R-Ky., stated.
The inspector basic report, launched in October, stated Blanton had misused his authorities car by driving it to trip locations and permitting his household to make use of it for private issues. The report additionally stated that Blanton mischaracterized his authorities place, at one level chasing down a car that was described as being concerned in a hit-and-run and misrepresenting himself as a regulation enforcement official. In one other occasion, he referred to as himself an “agent” after getting in an accident at a brewery whereas utilizing the car on trip, the report discovered.
The misuse of the federal government car resulted in “at least $13,926.56 as web questioned prices,” the report discovered.
Throughout final week’s listening to, Blanton maintained he wanted to take the automotive with him on private errands and holidays in case he wanted to return to the Capitol or reply to an emergency, as a result of it was geared up with sure communications gadgets. He referred to it as “an alternate work web site,” and stated having to change automobiles would gradual him down.
“If I am at House Depot and one thing occurs, there can be a delayed response attending to the Capitol,” Blanton instructed lawmakers.
Rep. Joe Morelle, D-N.Y., requested how that squared with the inspector basic report’s discovering that Blanton’s spouse and daughter would typically take the automotive with out him. “You would need to handle that with members of my household,” Blanton responded.
Morelle additionally pressed him on why he did not use the automotive to go to the Capitol on Jan. 6, the “best emergency the Capitol has confronted within the final two centuries.”
Blanton stated it “would have been not prudent” to drive to the Capitol that day due to the crowds, and instructed the panel of lawmakers that he as a substitute used the automotive as his “cell command heart” through the assault on the Capitol.
In a press release Monday, Morelle praised the president for doing “the proper factor” by dismissing Blanton.
“I sit up for working with my colleagues to start a seek for a brand new Architect instantly,” Morelle stated.
Blanton was the one member of the Capitol Police Board who nonetheless had their job after the Jan. 6 riot. The board consists of the Sergeant at Arms of the U.S. Home of Representatives, the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the U.S. Senate and the Architect of the Capitol.
Garrett Haake contributed.