President Biden fired the top official tasked with overseeing the Capitol building and its surrounding grounds on Monday after an inspector general report revealed a series of professional and managerial abuses.
Architect of the Capitol Brett Blanton’s termination also comes after a tense hearing before Congress last week in which he testified that he was working remotely during the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
A bipartisan consensus had formed on Capitol Hill in recent days that Blanton should be dismissed.
“The Architect of the Capitol, Brett Blanton, no longer has my confidence to continue in his job,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., tweeted on Monday. “He should resign or President Biden should remove him immediately.”
New York Rep. Joe Morelle, the Ranking Democrat on the House Administration Committee, said that Blanton was “given the opportunity to respond to numerous allegations of legal, ethical, and administrative violations,” and failed to “directly respond.”
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Blanton was responsible for managing a 2,000-person staff and overseeing the Capitol grounds, including the U.S. Capitol building, Library of Congress, and Supreme Court.
An inspector general report from 2021 accused him of allowing his family members to routinely use his work vehicle, which was equipped with “law enforcement lights and sirens, a USCP radio and a satellite phone.”
In June 2020, Blanton allegedly pursued a suspect involved in a hit-and-run in his work vehicle and “activated the emergency equipment” in the process, the inspector general wrote. Later, Blanton was accused of misrepresenting himself as a law enforcement officer during that incident.
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