House Republicans demand top Energy official Sam Brinton resign or be fired while facing felony theft charge

Sam Brinton, a top official in President Joe Biden’s Department of Energy, who also happens to be heralded by some as the first openly “non-binary, gender-fluid” federal official, was indicted on felony theft charges last month after allegedly stealing a woman’s luggage in September at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport in Minnesota.

Brinton was quietly placed on leave after the felony charges became publicly known, but now a group of House Republicans is demanding that he be fired or forced to resign from his government position, the Daily Wire reported.

It was only earlier this year that Brinton had been named as the new deputy assistant secretary for spent fuel and waste disposition in the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy.

If convicted on the state-level felony theft charges, he could be facing up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

“We demand the resignation of Sam Brinton”

A group of 16 House Republicans sent a letter on Dec. 6 to Energy Sec. Jennifer Granholm that said, “We write to respectfully demand the resignation of the Department of Energy’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition, Sam Brinton, who was recently put on leave following felony theft charges.”

The letter went on to lay out the allegations against Brinton, that he had been caught on surveillance camera stealing an expensive piece of luggage at the airport and how he had initially lied when questioned nearly a month later by the police about the theft, only to eventually admit that he had indeed taken the baggage that didn’t belong to him.

“As you are aware, your Department issued notice that Sam Brinton was placed on leave without providing crucial context clarifying that Brinton’s recent employment status was the result of a felony charge,” the House Republicans wrote. “As an appointed official, Sam Brinton represents both your Department and the United States. It is simply not possible for an individual to represent American values and simultaneously violate the felony laws of the land.”

“Brinton’s actions, along with your Department’s lack of transparency when dealing with this matter, reflect poorly on the Department of Energy, and they raise concern as to the Biden Administration’s priorities when appointing high-ranking officials. It is imperative that we do not allow a person charged with a felony to influence America’s policies,” the letter continued.

The House Republicans went on to note how the Department of Energy should be sharply focused on addressing the current “energy crisis” brought about by Biden’s own policies. Instead, in the view of “many Americans, it appears that you are more interested in playing politics and protecting an employee who admitted to felony theft to police than providing real solutions for hard-working Americans.”

“Therefore, we demand the resignation of Sam Brinton, and we implore you to set aside petty politics and appoint only the most qualified and dedicated individuals to influence America’s energy sector,” the GOP letter-writers concluded, with a set date of Dec. 20 for Sec. Granholm to provide her “fully transparent response” to the resignation demand.

DOE won’t say if Brinton is still getting paid while facing felony charge

Fox News reported that it had only been revealed last week that Brinton had been placed on leave by the DOE after news of his indictment for felony theft began to be publicly reported.

At the time of that revelation, a spokesperson for the DOE had simply said, “Sam Brinton is on leave from DOE, and Dr. Kim Petry is performing the duties of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition.”

The outlet noted that it has reached out to the DOE on multiple occasions since last week to find out whether Brinton was still receiving a federal paycheck while on leave, despite the serious felony theft allegations against him.

However, those efforts at transparency have been for naught, as the DOE has steadfastly refused to reveal whether Brinton is still being paid and instead has simply reiterated its prior statement that he had been placed on leave.

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