Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked former Architect of the Capitol Brett Blanton on Wednesday when he plans to repay taxpayers for the nearly $14,000 in costs associated with his alleged misuse of government vehicles.
President Biden fired Blanton earlier this month, amid increased scrutiny over the ethics violations raised against him in an October inspector general report.
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that Blanton and his family had repeatedly misused government vehicles meant for commuting between home and work and that Blanton had misrepresented himself as law enforcement.
“The OIG report describes conduct that is the very example of what a government employee should never do,” Grassley said in a letter to Blanton on Wednesday. “Government employees exist to serve the people, not fleece them.”
The inspector general estimated that Blanton cost taxpayers “no less than $13,926.56” due to the additional wear and tear and maintenance on the vehicles, as well as an accident involving one of the cars.
However, Grassley noted that this figure could be higher, given that Blanton remained in office for several months after the inspector general issued its report.
“Considering the OIG report’s clear findings, when will you repay the American taxpayer the $13,926.56 that you illegally cost them?” he asked Blanton.
The Iowa Republican sent an almost identical letter to acting Architect of the Capitol Chere Rexroat as well, asking when she would seek repayment from Blanton and what measures she is taking to prevent similar abuses from occurring in the future.
When appearing before House lawmakers earlier this month, Blanton pushed back on the allegations in the report.
“I wholeheartedly reject any assertion that I engaged in unethical behavior during my service to this country,” Blanton said in the hearing.
As Architect of the Capitol, Blanton was one of three individuals who oversaw the U.S. Capitol Police, alongside the House and Senate Sergeants at Arms.