Press Release - U.S. GAO Concludes AOC Violated the Antideficiency Act in Purchase and Use of Motor Vehicles for former Architect, J. Brett Blanton
September 11, 2023
Following the conclusion of its investigation into then-Architect, J. Brett Blanton, for violating multiple government policies, the AOC Office of Inspector General (OIG) requested a GAO decision on whether, in consideration of all laws, statutes, orders and rules, the purchase of a passenger motor vehicle and vehicle accessories and their use was appropriate. The GAO concluded that while the AOC had the authority to expend an appropriation for a vehicle, the AOC violated the Antideficiency Act for exceeding the price limitation. The AOC did not violate the purpose statute when it authorized the purchase of motor vehicle accessories such as lights and sirens. However, when the former Architect allowed family members use of the vehicle, such access was outside of his statutory responsibilities and did violate the purpose statute.
The OIG’s statutory mission is to promote efficiency and effectiveness, and economy to deter and prevent fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement in AOC programs and operations. While the former Architect had statutory authorization to expend taxpayer dollars for official business, evidence presented necessitated an appropriations law examination by the GAO. The GAO’s decision further supports the OIG’s investigative findings on waste, abuse of authority and misuse of public funds. The AOC violated both the Antideficiency Act and purpose statute when it authorized the use of government resources in excess of statutory limit and scope.
The OIG remains committed to providing independent and objective oversight to ensure the AOC fulfills its mission and responsibilities effectively, efficiently and ethically. We would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to the GAO for its professionalism and coordination.
The complete decision is located at https://www.gao.gov/products/b-333508.
Press Release - J. Brett Blanton, Architect of the Capitol, Abused His Authority, Misused Government Property and Wasted Taxpayer Money, Among Other Substantiated Violations
February 22, 2023
Senator Charles E. Grassley, Ranking Member, Senate Committee on the Budget, requested J. Brett Blanton, former Architect of the Capitol pay back the nearly $14,000 in fringe benefits for misuse of government resources.
February 13, 2023
The President terminated J. Brett Blanton as Architect of the Capitol for misconduct after calls from both the Senate and House and both parties demanded his removal.
February 9, 2013
The Committee on House Administration held a hearing entitled, "The Looking Ahead Series: The Architect of the Capitol’s Strategic Plan for the 118th Congress" to question then Architect J. Brett Blanton about, in part, his misuse of government resources as identified in AOC OIG investigation 2021-0011-INVI-P.
November 1, 2022
The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) completed its investigation into alleged misuse of a government owned vehicle by J. Brett Blanton and his family members. The OIG has substantiated multiple violations of AOC and government policies and uncovered other allegations that will be turned over to the proper government and local authorities.
Per the investigative report, the OIG has closed the investigation. The OIG has provided the report to the appropriate government agencies and offices, including the AOC’s Congressional Oversight Committees for review and any action they deem appropriate. A full summary providing greater detail into the investigation can be found at 2021-0011-INVI-P-Oversight-Post-Final_0.pdf.
CIGIE Award for Audit Excellence
October 4, 2022
The AOC OIG was presented the 25th Annual CIGIE Awards Award for Audit Excellence for the Flash Report Series – Independent Assessment of the Architect of the Capitol’s (AOC) Role in Securing the Capitol Campus for Large Public Gatherings OIG-AUD-2021-03, written in response to the events at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Former Federal Employee Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison For Receipt of Child Pornography
July 20, 2022
A former AOC employee was sentenced for using a government network to view child pornography as reported in Misuse of Government Networks to View Sexually Explicit or Obscene Material by an Architect of the Capitol (AOC) Employee: Substantiated 2019-0006-INVI-P.