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Former Biden official avoids jail in airport luggage theft cases

By Jake Beardslee · December 31, 2023

In brief…

  • Sam Brinton resigned from Biden administration amid multiple airport luggage theft charges in 2022
  • Was accused of thefts in Minnesota, Nevada, and Maryland but has avoided jail time so far
  • Entered diversion program in Minnesota, paid restitution in Nevada, Maryland case delayed
  • Department of Energy has not explained Brinton's resignation or said if allegations were investigated
Former Biden official Sam Brinton resigned last year amid luggage theft charges in three states but has so far avoided serving any jail time through diversion programs and suspended sentences.  U.S. Department of Energy/Wikimedia

Sam Brinton, the former Biden administration official who resigned from the Department of Energy amid multiple airport luggage theft allegations, ended 2023 without serving jail time despite being charged in three states.

Brinton made national headlines in mid-2022 when they were appointed by President Biden to lead nuclear waste policy. However, by the end of the year Brinton had resigned from their position amid accumulating charges that they had stolen luggage from multiple airports.

As Fox News reported, Brinton was accused of stealing a bag worth over $2,000 from Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport in September 2022. Then in December they were charged with stealing a suitcase valued at $3,670 from Harry Reid Airport in Las Vegas in July 2022 while on official government travel. Brinton was also accused by a Houston fashion designer of wearing her custom clothing that had gone missing from a bag at Washington Dulles Airport back in 2018.

Despite the series of felony theft accusations, Brinton has so far avoided serving any jail time. They entered a diversion program in Minnesota that requires community service and a letter of apology. In Nevada, Brinton paid restitution but received only a suspended 180-day jail sentence. The case in Maryland has been delayed until 2024.

The Department of Energy has not commented on why Brinton resigned or whether they investigated the allegations. Some Republican leaders have suggested Biden officials failed to properly vet Brinton before their appointment.