The top manager or architect of the Capitol Building, Brett Blanton, was fired by President Joe Biden on Monday, hours after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called for his resignation.
The actions came after Blanton appeared before the House Administration Committee on Thursday amid allegations he misused taxpayer dollars, impersonated a law enforcement officer, and did not show up to work in person on January 6, 2021. Blanton claimed that he managed operations that day from his official vehicle, rather than being on site.
“The Architect of the Capitol, Brett Blanton, no longer has my confidence to continue in his job,” McCarthy said Monday. “He should resign or President Biden should remove him immediately.”
A few hours later, Biden did just that.
Outrage by committee members
Committee members also expressed outrage at Blanton’s actions during the hearing and called for his removal.
“I find it mind-blowing that the head of the AOC, the leader, knowing what you knew — probably a lot more than we did that day — would not have been in this building ensuring the safety and security not only of the building but of the employees that you lead,” Rep. Stephanie Bice (R-OK) stated at Thursday’s hearing.
Committee Chairman Bryan Steil (R-WI) and ranking member Joseph Morelle (D-NY) also called for Blanton’s resignation.
Blanton was also accused of driving official vehicles to different destinations around the area and to South Carolina and Florida, as well as impersonating a law enforcement officer when a relative was involved in a hit-and-run accident, according to Politico.
He was the last member of the three-person Capitol Police Board that was in place on January 6, 2021 to remain. That board may be reorganized or restructured now by the committee as part of its oversight.
He was appointed in 2020 and had seven years left on his term. He can only be dismissed by the president.
Biden sent a brief letter via Gautam Raghavan, assistant to the president for presidential personnel, to announce Blanton’s firing, which read, “At the direction of President Biden, I am writing to inform you that your appointment as Architect of the Capitol is terminated effective 5:00 p.m. today.”
The deputy position beneath Blanton was vacant at the time of his departure, and the chief of operations Mark Reed was serving in an acting capacity. Amid calls for new leadership, Joseph DiPietro was named to the position Monday.
It could take months to find a new permanent architect because of the way the process is structured, Politico reported.