The first openly nonbinary person to hold a perch as a top DOE official, Brinton, who uses they/them pronouns, had prodded the government to overhaul its regulations on nuclear waste to allow the byproduct to be used for energy production. But now, Brinton is facing grand larceny, as well as felony theft charges, for allegedly nabbing female baggage in two different airports.
However, the baggage charges aren’t the first time the Biden official has made headlines for the wrong reasons.
In January, Brinton announced they were joining the Office of Nuclear Energy as the second-in-command. That appointment was met with a letter in February from an unnamed employee at DOE to the Office of the Inspector General raising concerns that Brinton lacked qualifications for their post at DOE, noting Brinton “has no prior federal government experience, no executive management or operations experience, training, or skills.”
“There is concern that making personnel selection decisions for career positions based on political considerations and gender-fluid identity as means of exerting political influence over the workforce, and at the expense of other better qualified candidates, is not the intent of the U.S. civil service laws or the U.S. Constitution,” the letter further stated.
Brinton, who served as deputy assistant secretary for spent fuel and waste disposition at the Office of Nuclear Energy, has graduate degrees in nuclear science and engineering from MIT and was responsible for overseeing a $45 million budget and a staff of roughly 100 people. A handful of prominent conservative-leaning figures publicly criticized the appointment of Brinton to the post.
“Liberals are deeply unserious about where we are in America. Saying ‘so the woke are destroying the country but also there’s no problem with a gender-theory radical progressive activist, who organizes dog kink sessions, running our nuclear energy program.’ Grow up people,” Parkland shooting survivor and conservative activist Kyle Kashuv tweeted at the time.
Then came a surprise. Court documents revealed that Brinton allegedly stole a woman’s suitcase at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Sept. 16, with items inside estimated to be worth $2,325. At first, Brinton denied the allegations and chalked it up to “being tired.” However, Brinton never checked in bags for the flight. Additionally, footage of the incident showed Brinton stripping the luggage’s ID tag.
Brinton was subsequently spotted with the suitcase during travel to Washington, D.C., on Sept. 18 and Oct. 9, according to investigators. Brinton was charged with felony theft and could face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for the incident. Brinton was put on leave shortly after news of the debacle spread.
Republican lawmakers subsequently demanded Brinton’s resignation.
“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,” a letter from GOP lawmakers read. “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.”
Later, Brinton was accused of nabbing a second piece of female luggage at the Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas in July. The luggage was estimated to hold items worth about $3,500, the New York Post reported. Authorities said that Brinton’s shirt of a rainbow-colored nuclear symbol helped confirm Brinton’s identity.
Brinton was charged with felony grand larceny charges and could face between one year and 10 years for the alleged Nevada theft.
“Sam Brinton is no longer a DOE employee. By law, the Department of Energy cannot comment further on personnel matters,” the department spokesperson said in an email obtained by the Washington Examiner Monday following news of the second theft.
The department declined to specify whether Brinton was terminated from the role or resigned.