Date: January 26, 2024

Roll Call reported on developments related to four discrimination complaints filed by former Architect of the Capitol employees: Jason Baltimore, Jonathan Kraft, William O'Donnell, and Peter Bahm. All four are represented by TELG's Anita Mazumdar Chambers. Their lawsuits describe Christine Leonard, a former director in the agency, as a participant in their discriminatory removals. Ms. Leonard has now filed her own discrimination complaint against the agency.

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Discrimination complaints unfold in wake of Capitol agency scandal

Five former leaders at the Architect of the Capitol have taken legal action against the agency after getting removed from their roles, in complaints that allege employment discrimination at the agency responsible for the upkeep and preservation of the Capitol Building and grounds.

Taken together, they paint a picture of bitter office strife among the agency leadership as a scandal ousted former Architect of the Capitol J. Brett Blanton, with descriptions of potential law violations, clashes with congressional staff and even workers investigated for going to a bar for a retirement party.

That includes a new complaint this week with the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights from a former director of legislative and public affairs that alleges gender discrimination and retaliation for her reporting sexist and corrupt behavior in the agency.

The turmoil first spilled over into the court system after Blanton’s successor, Chere Rexroat, removed four men from their leadership roles in April, and they filed discrimination lawsuits against the agency in August and October.

Those court filings describe Christine Leonard, the former director of legislative and public affairs, as a problematic employee who was ageist and sexist and discriminated against veterans and accuse her of participating in their removal.

Rexroat removed Leonard from her role in September, and now Leonard has filed her own discrimination complaint against the agency, and in it she calls out Blanton, Rexroat and the four male colleagues who filed lawsuits.


The four men who filed lawsuits are Jason Baltimore, a former general counsel; Jonathan Kraft, a former chief financial officer; William O’Donnell, a former chief administrative officer; and Peter Bahm, a former chief of staff. All of them are veterans and over the age of 40. Baltimore is Black and the rest are white.

Anita Mazumdar Chambers, the lawyer who represents Bahm, Baltimore, Kraft and O’Donnell, said Leonard was a major cause of the discrimination and dysfunction at the agency.

“Her predicament now is of her own making, and her OCWR complaint is a transparent attempt to reframe the mounting record against her,” Chambers said.

“My clients know nothing about her dismissal — they were ousted long before it, with Ms. Leonard’s participation — and they never engaged in, or supported, any discrimination against her,” Chambers said. “Any such claim is exactly backwards. They were exemplary public servants, and they didn’t deserve the shabby treatment they suffered.”

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