Senator demands answers from Biden admin over Sam Brinton's luggage theft on taxpayer-funded trip

'Sam Brinton used taxpayer dollars to facilitate theft,' GOP Sen John Barrasso wrote to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm

A top Republican senator is probing the Department of Energy (DOE) after Fox News Digital reported non-binary former senior official Sam Brinton committed a crime while on an official trip last year.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., the ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, sent a letter late Wednesday to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, asking her various questions about Brinton's employment and her agency's knowledge of Brinton's alleged crimes. Earlier this month, Fox News Digital reported Brinton was traveling on a taxpayer-funded business trip to Nevada at the time of a high-profile baggage theft in July 2022.

"Far from a faithful execution of duties, Sam Brinton used taxpayer dollars to facilitate theft from the very public DOE is bound to serve," Barrasso wrote to Granholm. "Though Brinton is no longer a DOE employee, there are continuing concerns about potential criminality committed during Brinton’s employment at DOE." 

"The press has reported on three alleged thefts carried out by Brinton. This criminal activity represents a disturbing pattern of behavior. It is therefore important to discover whether or not Brinton carried out additional thefts while on DOE-sponsored travel," the GOP senator added. "As Sam Brinton’s employer, your department is liable for Brinton’s criminal misconduct committed while on official travel." 


senator demands answers from biden admin over sam brintons luggage theft on taxpayer funded trip

"DOE has both a legal and moral obligation to address additional criminal acts carried out at the hands of your senior employee," Sen. John Barrasso, right, wrote to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, left. (Getty Images)

Barrasso requested Granholm provide his committee with Brinton’s official travel itineraries. He also asked the DOE to engage with the Office of the Inspector General to determine the extent of Brinton's crimes on taxpayer-funded trips.

"It is clear DOE has both a legal and moral obligation to address additional criminal acts carried out at the hands of your senior employee," Barrasso continued. "For this reason, I request DOE provide the Committee a list of Brinton’s official travel itineraries."


"Additionally, I request the relevant DOE personnel work with the Inspector General to determine whether or not Brinton committed other criminal acts while on DOE-sponsored travel," he wrote. "By doing so, DOE may help other potential victims of Brinton’s crimes."

In early July 2022, Brinton traveled to the DOE-operated Nevada National Security Site near Las Vegas, according to DOE filings and expense reports obtained by watchdog group Functional Government Initiative and shared with Fox News Digital. Brinton flew on a United Airlines flight from Washington, D.C., to Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas on July 6, 2022.

Months later, in early December, Las Vegas prosecutors charged Brinton with grand larceny of an item valued between $1,200 and $5,000. Police accused Brinton of stealing a suitcase with a total estimated worth of $3,670 at Harry Reid International Airport on July 6, 2022, the same day Brinton traveled to Las Vegas on official DOE business.

senator demands answers from biden admin over sam brintons luggage theft on taxpayer funded trip

Sam Brinton has been charged with multiple airport luggage thefts. Brinton departed the Department of Energy late last year. (Department of Energy | Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)

According to the documents, Brinton — who made headlines last year after being appointed to be the deputy assistant secretary of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition at the DOE's Office of Nuclear Energy as a non-binary gender-fluid person — traveled to the Nevada National Security Site for an unspecified meeting and site visit. 

Brinton ultimately escaped jail time in the grand larceny case after pleading no contest to the charges and waiving the right to a trial. Brinton was ordered to pay $3,670.74 to the victim in the case and $500 in additional fees, including a criminal fine. Clark County Judge Ann Zimmerman handed Brinton a 180-day suspended jail sentence, a sentence that does not need to be served, and ordered Brinton to "stay out of trouble."

Brinton also escaped jail time in a separate case involving the theft of a baggage worth a total of $2,325 from the luggage carousel at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport on Sept. 16. 

And Brinton was arrested in May in relation to yet another baggage theft, this time stemming from a 2018 incident at the Washington, D.C.-area Reagan National Airport.

The DOE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Thomas Catenacci is a politics writer for Fox News Digital.

Authored by Thomas Catenacci via FoxNews July 27th 2023