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‘Highly Concerning’: Capitol Hill Architect To Face Congress After Misconduct Allegations

  Architect of the   Capitol   (AOC) Brett Blanton is set to testify before a   House   committee on Thursday after a report from the inspec...

 Architect of the Capitol (AOC) Brett Blanton is set to testify before a House committee on Thursday after a report from the inspector general detailed several misconduct allegations against him. 

Blanton, who heads up the federal agency that oversees the management of the U.S. Capitol Complex, has been accused of abusing his authority, misusing government property, and wasting taxpayer money. He will testify before the House Administration Committee, now headed by Rep. Bryan Steil (R-WI).

“We need to discuss your personal role as the head of the [Architect of the Capitol] and allegations that have been brought to light by the AOC Inspector General. I have read the IG report and the allegations are highly concerning,” Steil will say at the meeting, according to a draft of his prepared statement obtained by POLITICO. 

Blanton has faced criticism after the inspector general declared several of the allegations against the bureaucrat “substantiated.” Many of the concerns involve Blanton’s use of government vehicles. 

According to the inspector general, Blanton once used an AOC vehicle to chase after another driver who had hit an automobile belonging to his daughter’s boyfriend. In a police report, Blanton was described as an “off-duty DC police officer,” which he is not. The suspect also reportedly believed that Blanton was a police officer, saying that he passed himself as law enforcement during pretrial hearings. 

Another incident detailed in the IG report claims Blanton’s daughter drove about 60 miles-per-hour in a 30-mile-per-hour zone while making an obscene gesture while exiting a parking garage. 

The inspector general said the violations took place in South Carolina, Florida, West Virginia, and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The report identified more than $13,000 in questioned costs for the vehicles. 

“The OIG [Office of Inspector General] identified a significant amount of administrative, ethical and policy violations, as well as evidence of criminal violations throughout the investigation. Blanton misled and provided false information to investigators on multiple occasions,” the report said. 

A prepared statement obtained by POLITICO indicates that Blanton’s remarks to the committee will focus on the work of the Capitol Architect and not on the misconduct allegations. 

“Everyone at the AOC stands ready to support this Committee’s effort to meet current demands and to plan for the future. Together, we can protect and preserve this cherished institution as well as all of those who serve here. Across the agency, we are committed to working as one team, united in one mission,” the prepared statement from Blanton reads.

Blanton, who some lawmakers want to resign, is also expected to be questioned about his decision to support erecting a fence around the Capitol ahead of President Biden’s State of the Union, a move which cost nearly $1 million. 

Blanton is in year three of the 10-year term slated for his position.

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