Embattled non-binary former senior Department of Energy (DOE) official Sam Brinton was involved in a high-profile baggage theft during a taxpayer-funded business trip, as revealed by internal Biden administration documents. The trip took place in early July 2022, with Brinton traveling to the DOE-operated Nevada National Security Site near Las Vegas. This information was obtained by the watchdog group Functional Government Initiative (FGI) and shared with Fox News Digital.
According to the internal filings and expense reports, Brinton flew on a United Airlines flight from Washington, D.C., to Las Vegas’ Harry Reid International Airport on July 6, 2022. However, several months later, in early December, Brinton faced charges of grand larceny related to the theft of a suitcase. Las Vegas prosecutors accused Brinton of stealing a bag worth approximately $3,670 from the airport on the same day of their official DOE trip. The stolen suitcase contained jewelry valued at $1,700, clothing worth $850, and makeup valued at $500.
FGI spokesperson Peter McGinnis expressed outrage at the fact that taxpayer dollars facilitated Brinton’s travel to and from the scene of the crime, inadvertently involving the American public in the incident. McGinnis called for a more stringent vetting process for senior-level positions within the federal government, stating that senior officials engaging in petty crime while on duty pointed to dysfunction in personnel procedures.
The internal documents also revealed that Brinton’s trip to the Nevada National Security Site was for an unspecified meeting and site visit. The site serves as a preferred location for experiments supporting the National Nuclear Security Administration’s programs, national defense programs, and national security research. Brinton stayed at the Hilton Grand Vacations Club on the Las Vegas Strip from July 6 to July 9, 2022. The total cost of the four-day trip, according to a DOE expense report filed in August 2022, amounted to $1,951.50.
The DOE did not respond to inquiries regarding the purpose of Brinton’s trip. In the grand larceny case, Brinton avoided jail time by pleading no contest and agreeing to pay $3,670.74 to the victim, along with $500 in additional fees. Clark County Judge Ann Zimmerman issued a 180-day suspended jail sentence, ordering Brinton to stay out of trouble. Brinton also escaped jail time in separate cases involving baggage thefts at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport in September and a 2018 incident at Reagan National Airport in the Washington, D.C., area.
In December, the DOE announced Brinton’s departure from the agency without disclosing the reason behind it. In response, Senator John Barrasso, the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, called for an internal investigation into the DOE’s security clearance process following Brinton’s departure. Barrasso emphasized the importance of trust and the need for thorough vetting processes when appointing individuals to critical positions with national security responsibilities, asserting that such measures were in the country’s best interests.