- The Washington Times
Friday, December 9, 2022

Sam Brinton, the first gender-fluid person with a high-ranking post at the Department of Energy, who is facing felony charges for stealing designer luggage at a Minneapolis airport, has been accused of another luggage theft at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas.

Officials issued a felony warrant on grand larceny charges to Brinton, the deputy assistant secretary for spent fuel and waste disposition at the department’s Office of Nuclear Energy, 8 News Now reported Thursday.

According to 8 News Now, Brinton, 35, was charged with grand larceny with a value between $1,200 and $5,000. The news of this indictment comes almost two weeks after it was revealed that the energy official was on leave from DOE after similar charges had been filed.

Video surveillance footage from Sept. 16 showed Brinton removing a woman’s hard-sided Vera Bradley roller suitcase worth about $2,000 from the baggage claim area at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Brinton claimed not to know about the bag but later told authorities he took it by accident, only to realize it belonged to someone else.

Republicans on Capitol Hill have called for Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to terminate Brinton’s employment with the department since the original theft allegations.

Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, the top Republican on the Senate Energy Committee, called for Brinton‘s termination, as did 16 House Republicans, led by Georgia Rep. Andrew Clyde, who demanded the resignation of Brinton and that Ms. Granholm “set aside petty politics and appoint only the most qualified and dedicated individuals to influence America’s energy sector.”

“It is in the interest of both the Department’s mission and our national security that the Deputy Assistant Secretary’s clearance be immediately revoked,” Mr. Barrasso wrote in his letter to Ms. Granholm.

Senior Democrats on the Senate Energy Committee are not ready to call for the dismissal of Sam Brinton.

Still, Energy Committee Chairman Joseph Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, said Brinton is on the ropes.

“Everyone’s innocent until proven guilty, but if he‘s convicted of what he‘s done, he‘s gone,” Mr. Manchin said. “Here’s the thing. It sounds to me like it’s a pretty clear-cut case and he’s in big trouble. … The bottom line is, you commit a felony and you work with top secret clearance, you’re gone.”

Senate Energy Committee member Angus King, a Maine independent who caucuses with Democrats, said Brinton‘s high level of security clearance “is obviously of concern.”

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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