Crime on the Clock: Former DOE Official Sam Brinton Committed Theft While on a Government Trip

Records reveal Brinton was on official Department of Energy business when stealing women’s clothes and jewelry.

July 17, 2023

(Washington, DC) – Today, government watchdog Functional Government Initiative (FGI) announced it has found evidence that then-Department of Energy (DOE) official Sam Brinton committed a crime while on taxpayer time. Records obtained from the DOE through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request show Brinton in Las Vegas on official DOE business during the time of one of his thefts.

On July 6, 2022, security camera footage caught Brinton stealing luggage at Las Vegas’ Harry Reid International Airport. The travel records show that Brinton, then the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the DOE’s Office of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition, was traveling to Las Vegas that day to visit the DOE facilities in the Las Vegas area. In December 2022, Brinton was arrested for grand larceny and was ultimately convicted on a misdemeanor, with a suspended jail sentence of 180 days and ordered by the court to “stay out of trouble.” By then the DOE had announced that Brinton was no longer with the agency.

However, before that announcement, Brinton had already been placed on leave according to the agency, due to a previous charge of felony theft. In a criminal complaint filed in Hennepin County, Minnesota, in October 2022, Brinton had allegedly stolen luggage on September 16, 2022, from a carousel at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. In April 2023, it was reported that Brinton had entered adult diversion, having to undergo mental health evaluation, write a letter of apology to the victim, return stolen items, and complete three days of community service.

In February 2023, Tanzanian fashion designer Asya Khamsin claimed that she saw Brinton wearing her one-of-a-kind clothes in multiple online photos, clothes that she had reported missing since 2018 after she lost her luggage, with those clothes packed in it, at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. On May 17, 2023, police executed a search warrant and arrested Brinton for yet another allegation.

Peter McGinnis, spokesman for FGI, issued the following statement:

“It’s outrageous that tax dollars transported Brinton to and from the scene of a crime, putting the American public unwittingly at the wheel of the getaway car. The federal government obviously needs a more stringent vetting process for senior-level positions. Senior officials committing petty crime while on the clock is a clear indication that something is dysfunctional in the personnel procedures.”