A top Energy Department official has been caught up in yet another airport theft scandal — and the Biden administration has placed the individual on leave as a result.
Sam Brinton, who frequently appears at official events in women’s clothing, became the most prominent non-binary federal government official after being named the agency’s deputy assistant secretary in charge of spent fuel and waste disposition within the Office of Nuclear Energy.
It’s official. As of June 19th, I now serve my nation as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition in the Office of Nuclear Energy in the Department of Energy. pic.twitter.com/zLq3Bf97X2
— Sam Brinton (@sbrinton) June 29, 2022
That notoriety was soon overshadowed by legal problems after charges stemming from an incident at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in September. Brinton was accused of stealing a designer suitcase worth thousands of dollars from the airport.
The official was subsequently identified from surveillance footage, which appeared to reveal Brinton ripping off the bag’s identification tag and leaving with the stolen luggage and its contents.
From there, Brinton reportedly removed the contents at an area hotel and continued using the stolen suitcase for several weeks.
Further suggesting that Brinton did not simply pick up the wrong bag before leaving the airport was the fact that the official apparently arrived without any luggage.
Last month, Brinton was charged with a felony in connection with that incident and now faces a similar count in connection with an alleged theft at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Authorities say Brinton stole luggage from that location and a warrant lists the value at between $1,200 and $5,000.
Although the Department of Energy placed Brinton on leave following the backlash over the Minnesota incident, a number of GOP lawmakers are asking for more substantial action following the latest charges.
A total of 16 House Republicans recently sent a letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm calling for Brinton’s ouster.
“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,” they wrote.
Following Brinton’s suspension, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Spent Fuel Kim Petry confirmed that she would be in charge of the office on an interim basis, writing to her colleagues that she “should have another update for all of you in a month or so.”