Trump-Appointed Capitol Architect J. Brett Blanton Committed Numerous Ethic Violations, Watchdog Says
A federal watchdog investigation is accusing the Architect of the Capitol, the person responsible for the maintenance of the U.S. Capitol, of abusing his power, misusing property and wasting taxpayer money.
According to a report released by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Capitol Architect J. Brett Blanton, who was appointed for the job in 2019 by former President Donald Trump, used his position to offer private tours when the building was closed due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
The report also found that his spouse, Michelle Blanton, posted on social media a photo of herself and Blanton from the Capitol dome and commented, “This is happening!!!” and “All PATRIOTS welcome…PM me.”
She later edited the comment to read: “*Patriots=Americans who love America. Not a candidate,” the report said.
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The report notes that posting photos from inside the Capitol does not violate the U.S. Code. But highlighted that “offering private tours of the U.S. Capitol creates the appearance of impropriety and using a public position for private gain, which is a violation of AOC policy.”
According to the investigation by the OIG, the architect allowed that family members to use officials cars assigned to him. The report claims that Blanton used his car to pursue a vehicle involved in a hit-and-run in Virginia, leaning local authorities to believe he was an off-duty law enforcement official.
Following the release of the report, a group of Democrats called for Blanton’s resignation.
“Based on the overwhelming evidence of misconduct outlined in this report, Mr. Blanton must resign. He should be held accountable and reimburse the government,” said a statement issued Tuesday by six Democrats who chair committees that oversee the agency.
Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) and Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut), Zoe Lofgren (D-California) and Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) signed the document.
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